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Wis. guv pitches deep cuts for schools

MADISON, Wis. - After focusing for weeks on his proposal to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights, Gov. Scott Walker presented his full budget proposal Tuesday, a plan that cuts $1.5 billion in aid to public schools and government but avoids any tax or fee increases, furloughs or widespread layoffs.

Walker said the cuts could be paid for in large part by forcing government employees to pay more for their pension and health care benefits. But his proposal to do that and to eliminate most collective bargaining remains in limbo after Senate Democrats fled the state to prevent a vote.

"This is a reform budget," Walker said in prepared remarks. "It is about getting Wisconsin working again, and to make that happen, we need a balanced budget that works - and an environment where the private sector can create 250,000 jobs over the next four years."

Walker's proposals have stirred a national debate over public-sector unions and drawn tens of thousands of protesters to the Capitol for three weeks. - AP

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