(Host) Governor Peter Shumlin spent the morning in Washington debating the best way for states to balance their budgets.
Shumlin and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which took testimony on choices that states are making.
Shumlin took the opportunity to criticize Walker for Wisconsin’s high-profile debate over the bargaining rights of public employee unions.
(Shumlin) "I don’t start with collective bargaining and I don’t start with my public pensions. I start with the true costs. In Vermont, and this is true of most of the states of the country, health care is my biggest rising cost."
(Host) Wisconsin was paralyzed for weeks over Walker’s ultimately successful attempt to reduce the powers of the public employee unions.
Shumlin says his goal has been to try to work with unions to revise pensions and other benefits so the state can balance the budget.
Walker framed his own approach much differently. He says he wanted to help the local governments in Wisconsin to control spending.
(Walker) "For us, we’re giving state and local governments the tools they need not just to balance the budget this year or the next two years, but for generations to come."
(Host) Both governors agreed that there are many issues driving up their costs. But they disagreed on what role unions and public pensions play.