Rep. Issa Taps Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker To Testify About Tackling State Debt

April 12, 2011 5:09 pm ET — Brian Powell

A recent controversial anti-labor budget bill in the Wisconsin state legislature sparked massive protests, legislative disobedience, and an infamous prank phone call to Gov. Scott Walker. Walker falsely attributed Wisconsin's financial troubles to the collective bargaining rights of public employees, and the bill he pushed through in February was meant to "end collective bargaining rights for nearly all public employees," according to the Associated Press.

Now, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is making the attacks on public employee benefits a national issue. Thursday, the Oversight Committee will hold a hearing entitled "State and Municipal Debt: Tough Choices Ahead" that will feature the testimony of Gov. Walker.

Issa issued a statement on the committee website, saying:

Governor Walker's actions to cut spending and address over-compensation of public employees are putting his state government in a stronger financial position.  The credit rating agency Moody's recently announced that these reforms will have a positive impact on Wisconsin's credit rating.  The Committee looks forward to hearing from Governor Walker about the challenge ahead and the tough choices leaders at all levels of government must make to get control of our debt and spending problems. [...]

This hearing will examine the severity of, and threats posed, by the looming state budget crisis and evaluate the consequences of possible federal government actions.

Walker's expertise on long-term fiscal responsibility is questionable, given that the tax breaks he gave out in January are projected to add $117.2 million to the Wisconsin budget gap in the next two years.

Additionally, Walker has consistently misrepresented the truth when it comes to his budget proposal. Amongst many falsehoods, Walker's claim that his bill would leave collective bargaining intact was rated "Pants On Fire" by PolitiFact.org.

Issa and other House Republicans have already begun their assault on public employees at the national level and will likely be looking to Walker's testimony for more ammunition. In addition to attacking postal employees in an Oversight hearing last week, Republicans have introduced the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act, a bill that, according to the Wall Street Journal, would "compel states and municipalities to meet stringent standards for reporting on the finances of employee-pension funds, and would expressly ban any federal bailouts."

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