News & Election Videos

Interview with State Senator Dan Kapanke

Jon Scott

xfdfx LIVE-EVENT-04


Date: March 4, 2011>

Time: 11:20>

Tran: 030404cb.261>

Type: Show>

Head: Interview with State Senator Dan Kapanke>

Sect: News; International>

Byline: Jon Scott>

Guest: Dan Kapanke>

Spec: Congress; Government; Budget>

JON SCOTT, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: It's a budget battle in Wisconsin and it enters a new phase today.Governor Scott Walker there threatening to start laying off 1,500 state workers unless at least one Democratic senator returns to the capitol to vote on a budget measure restricting public workers' collective bargaining rights.

Wisconsin Republicans voted to hold the Democrats in contempt and threaten them with arrest.

Dan Kapanke is one of Wisconsin's Republican state senators.

Could it really come to that, Senator, that your Democratic colleagues would be arrested?

STATE SEN. DAN KAPANKE, R-WISCONSIN: Well, it would be a Wisconsin state Senate arrest, it's not a criminal or a civil arrest. But they are in contempt of the state Senate.

I hope it doesn't come to that. I hope that, you know, they find a way to get back up here and we can move the business of Wisconsin forward.

SCOTT: Is it essentially correct that these 14 state senators are saying they would rather hang out at the Water Park Hotel in Illinois? They would prefer to do that than see 1500 state workers keep their jobs?

KAPANKE: Yes, it's interesting that they would make that statement. I'm sure it's very nice where they're at. But you know it's been over two weeks now, and they were elected to do a job up here. And I am very confident that the majority of them want to come back to Wisconsin, come back to their respective districts, and get back to work.

And the line has been drawn in the sand, however, and we just need to overcome that impasse that has gone on too long.

SCOTT: There obviously are a lot of misconceptions about what's going on here on both sides I suppose. $3.6 billion, though, that's the amount of shortfall in Wisconsin's budget for the next two years unless something changes, right?

KAPANKE: That's correct. The governor did introduce his two-year bi- annual budget on Tuesday of this week and it addresses that 3.6, and nobody here in the capitol said that it was going to be easy to balance our state budget, but in fact that's what we are to do constitutionally.

We have to bring forth a balanced budget and that causes hurt to go around the state. But far too long we've had administrations and legislative bodies here in the capitol kick the financial can down the road, borrow from funds and then backfill it with bonding that we're paying for today.

So this administration, this governor has stood up and said we're not going to do that any longer, and this legislative body here has stood right with him and saying we're going to be fiscally responsible.

SCOTT: It is sometimes portrayed as a bill that would end collective bargaining for public unions, does it?

KAPANKE: Well, in some aspects it does. In other aspects it does not. It does -- it does not end the right to collective bargaining for base wages. It doesn't eliminate or decertify unions here in Wisconsin. We have also given Wisconsin civil service protection to all state employees who had it previously but also to local units of government and their employees.

So we have strengthened, you know, the workers' rights with this measure, and we just again have to move Wisconsin forward. We are empowering local units of government to be flexible in how they deal with the financial shortfalls that they're going to be seeing in this two-year budget.

SCOTT: Looks a little cloudy in Madison, Wisconsin, right now as we look at these live pictures. Hope they get it cleared up and you get your 14 Democratic colleagues back to work.

Senator Dan Kapanke --

KAPANKE: I'm very confident -- I'm very confident the sun is going to shine again here.

SCOTT: All right. We'll hope. Thank you very much.

KAPANKE: Thanks, Jon.


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