Barrett raps former guv opponent

    Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett Tuesday called for "real leadership" on the budget repair bill standoff, urging Gov. Scott Walker and legislative leaders to pass proposed benefit concessions without taking up the collective bargaining rights issue.
    However, Democratic efforts to do that this morning in the GOP-run state Assembly failed.
    "We need to have our governor lead this state and bring people together," Barrett said in advance of Walker’s "fireside chat" on the bill.
    Barrett, Walker’s opponent last fall, said Wisconsinites don’t need a lecture. Barrett said labor officials and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have agreed on the need for public employee concessions, and that those aspects of the bill should be passed by Friday – which is also the deadline to pass the aspects of the bill to refinance the state’s debt.
    Barrett said Republicans could bring back the collective bargaining changes that have drawn so much protest later in the session if they so desired, adding that he would fully expect them to do so. 
    Barrett also ripped the bill for pitting "firefighters against nurses" by exempting some public safety groups from the collective bargaining changes. He said that not only should all public workers share in the state’s fiscal struggles, but that the bill’s impact on his local budget would be negatively impacted by those exemptions.
    "This legislation does not even touch two-thirds of my problem, because it leaves out many workers," Barrett said. Barrett said he hasn’t heard any local officials ask for an end to the collective bargaining process altogether, adding that he believes the current controversy is part of a national effort targeting states with public sector collective bargaining. But he reiterated that that battle could be taken up after the deadline for refinancing the state debt.
    "It’s time to bring a civil ending to a very divisive chapter in Wisconsin’s history," Barrett said.

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