It works by everybody sitting at the table, actually saying, This is what we can do, what can you provide, and we come to a consensus on what's best for the community. Unions don't want to bankrupt our community. Unions don't want to bankrupt the state. That hurts all of us.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, are you -- are you saying that you think that the members of the union should contribute to helping the shortfall in the budget?
MITCHELL: I think there's no doubt about that. I don't think that any union employee or any state employee doubted that. They said we had a $3.6 billion deficit. That's fine. They say we can't keep kicking the can down the road. We understand that. But we want to be able to sit at a table and negotiate over those changes.
What we saw in January of last year was corporate payback. So we had a -- we are open for business and we saw -- what did we see in January? Corporations getting tax cuts, massive tax cuts to corporations. If you come into the state of Wisconsin from Illinois, from Iowa, from Minnesota, you can work two years and not have to pay any income tax on any income you make as a corporation.
VAN SUSTEREN: As a corporation.
MITCHELL: As a corporation.
VAN SUSTEREN: What's the current corporate -- what's the current corporate tax in the state?
MITCHELL: Oh, that's a good question. I'd have to look that up.
VAN SUSTEREN: I think it's 7.9 percent.
MITCHELL: OK. But we have -- this is what we did over the next 10 years. We gave $2.3 billion in tax cuts to corporations.
VAN SUSTEREN: Was that to bring them here to generate jobs? I assume that's what's the governor's going to say.
MITCHELL: And that's fine. To bring them here to generate jobs, there's no doubt in my mind that we need businesses to create jobs. We need business to create jobs, but you can't in one breath say we're going to give all these corporations tax cuts, and then the next breath say we need -- our state is broke and we need money. We need shared sacrifice, and then balance the budget on the backs of the hard-working middle class citizens of our state.
They say we need shared sacrifice -- right now, it seems like we sacrifice and they share the wealth. So we need a balance. I'm not saying that we don't need to give these tax breaks to corporations, but the days of giving tax breaks to corporations and not putting any onus on them to create jobs is over. We had six months of straight job losses in our state -- six months. The only state in the nation to have that.
VAN SUSTEREN: But you have a 6.9 percent unemployment rate, which the rest of in the country is envious of, or at least (INAUDIBLE). That's not a bad unemployment rate in the state, not that -- not that that's good. Don't -- I don't think any unemployment is good, but your state is actually doing a little bit better in unemployment than most other states.
VAN SUSTEREN: And it's certainly less than the national average of 8.3.
MITCHELL: I don't think there's any -- I don't think there's any one Republican or Democrat that can argue that. We need to create jobs in our state. But it's just too philosophical differences of how to get that done. And I think that's what you're seeing a difference, and that's why you're seeing people act out.
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor Scott Walker is still with us. Governor, your response to that? And let me just say that it occurred to me tucking to him is that -- is that he wanted to work something out on all these tough issues. He's a good man, a good firefighter, but he didn't like your method. He thought that you were -- sort of rolled over on -- rolled them over without -- without talking to them, bringing them to the table.
WALKER: Yes, a good guy, I think very reflective of what you hear out of Madison and centers like that, where they believe that somehow, they stand up for the middle class, when they're really just standing up for the big government unions.
And I would look and say you know who's paid for the expansion of government in the past? It's been the middle class taxpayers overwhelmingly in our state. And finally, we're putting them back in charge of our government at both the state and the local level.
I mean, we're sitting in the city of Milwaukee tonight. Mayor Tom Barrett was able to save about $25 million because of our reforms, balanced the budget and not have to rely on gouging the property tax payers. In places like Dane County and Madison in the past, they've had to gorge the taxpayers because our reforms weren't in place.
We're actually protecting the hard-working people of our state.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did they -- did the union -- the state union employees pay 8 to 10 percent for their paychecks? Is that what it was to...
WALKER: Well, they -- what they do is they pay about 5.8 percent for their pension, which is half of their pension contribution.
VAN SUSTEREN: Under your new -- under the new plan?
WALKER: Under our new plan.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK.
WALKER: And then they pay 12.6 percent of premium. So for a lot of employees at the low end of the spectrum in terms of the type of health insurance, like my family gets, that's a couple hundred dollars a month.
My brother works outside of government as a hotel banquet manager, works part-time as a bartender, his wife sells appliances for a department store, two beautiful kids. They embody the middle class in my state.
He looked at all this last year and said, I pay $800 for the little bit I can pay -- for what I pay on my health insurance premium and the little bit I can set aside on my 401(k). He's, like, I'd love to have the deal you're putting on the table.
I think that's the difference, is a lot of people in government unfortunately don't get that people outside of government, the people who pay the tax bills, the hard-working people of our state, pay a whole lot more even currently, let alone what they paid in the past. This is about evening it up so that taxpayers of the state are the ones who ultimately someone on their side.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I think this is going to be a very fascinating recall. Obviously, you can't take sort of the intellectual interest in it that I do from afar, I mean, because it matters to you...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... and it matters to this firefighter and to everybody else who runs in it. But it certainly is going to -- you know, it's going to send a big message one way or the other to this country of how Wisconsin, a swing state, is likely or maybe will vote come November.
WALKER: Well, and it's political both about what happens in November in the presidential and even a key U.S. Senate race. I think it's even more important. I think long term, it sets the table for whether it's me and other governors or even people like my friend Paul Ryan and the courageous things he's trying to do in Washington.
When we prevail, it will send a powerful, powerful message that when people complain about politicians who don't have the courage to stand up, the guts to take on the tough issues, our election will show, when we win, that you know what? Voters do want people to take on the tough issues. They do want people to stand up for the taxpayers. They won't -- people to turn away the special interests, and I think that's what we'll show.
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, nice to see you.
WALKER: Good to see you, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, go Badgers this week, right?