From the JOURNAL SENTINEL:
Americans for Prosperity, a political action group financed by the billionaire Koch brothers, has been active in supporting Gov. Scott Walker and his budget-repair bill.
AFP director Tim Phillips said Monday that his group already had spent $400,000 on TV and radio ads in the state in support of the governor.
“Yes, we will continue to be very active,” Phillips said.
Phillips said his group’s efforts began in Wisconsin in January 2005.
The Koch brothers also have donated to Walker’s gubernatorial campaign and the Republican Governors Association, among others. Organized labor and Democrats have accused the brothers and groups they support of leading the organizational efforts in Wisconsin to get Walker’s bill signed into law.
Phillips said he is aware of the attacks his organization has taken for supporting Walker. Organized labor groups have attacked Walker and groups including Americans for Prosperity as union busters
Phillips said he heard the argument that the budget-repair stalemate can be solved if Walker and fellow Republicans allow unions the right to collective bargaining in return for agreed-upon concessions.
But Phillips said he was unmoved. His group and Walker want the collective-bargaining language in the bill to stay.
“Collective bargaining is the primary reason why government employee benefits and pensions are so out of whack with what the private sector gets,” Phillips said.
By definition, collective bargaining represents a give and take between worker and management. Phillips agreed, but said that in the case of collective bargaining between state workers and the state, negotiators are bargaining with taxpayer money, not private money.
“And because of that, we have seen them repeatedly cave in to a very well-organized, very well-funded interest group,” Phillips said.
Phillips said former Gov. Jim Doyle and previous legislatures have to bear responsibility for signing off on collective-bargaining agreements.