Washington (CNSNews.com) – Democratic governors were critical of how Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is handling the showdown with the public employees union in his state, but were ambiguous about whether they could support Walker’s proposal to allow voters to approve or disapprove by referendum any pay raise for public employees – including teachers – that exceeds the rate of inflation.
“I don’t want to criticize other governors,” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper told CNSNews.com. “I’ve got my hands full in
Hickenlooper said a referendum should not be used too often.
“I don’t mind referendums. What, are you going to do a referendum on everything?” he continued. “My goal is if you get the right people making the conversation, making the discussion, then ultimately – voters don’t have to have a referendum on every little thing, I don’t think.
“It depends on the state and how important it is for different issues. Ultimately we need to get all sides to the table and work out compromises, legitimate compromises,” Hickenlooper said.
The Democratic Governors Association met in
The Democrats’ meeting is followed by the meeting of the bipartisan National Governors Association. The gatherings are happening in the midst of a showdown between Gov. Walker, a Republican, and
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, said
“Anything they can do to get back to the main priority that I think every governor should be focused on which is job creation, saving jobs, creating jobs and rebuilding our economy,” O’Malley said.
“I think it’s so unfortunate that with all of the challenges we’ve gone through in this recession that any state would be distracted from job creation and try to settle old political scores or sharpen their ideological ax to go after unions,” O’Malley told CNSNews.com.
“I just don’t think it’s helpful to creating jobs. Whatever Wisconsin or these other states can do to get back into the game of creating jobs instead of fighting, or belittling their public employees, I think is a positive step,” he said.
Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy said that Walker clearly had a union-busting agenda.
“First of all, he’s got to do what he thinks is right for his state, and clearly I have some pretty big disagreements with him,” Malloy told CNSNews.com. “He’s trying to bust a union. That’s what he is. He’s a union buster, and that’s what he’s trying to do, and he is now desperate to find language where his position doesn’t sound quite as absurd.
“That’s what he’s doing. You’re asking questions about his renovating his initial take on all of this,” Malloy continued. “For instance, he wants union members to have to vote to be a union member every year, but he doesn’t think the governor should be elected every year.”
When CNSNews.com followed up with Malloy on whether he would support a referendum for pay increases, he answered, “Each state has a different constitution, so they’ll make their own decisions. We don’t have that in our constitution.”