Wisconsin Gov. Walker Speaks Out on Recall Effort

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," November 16, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Now the recall battle begins in Wisconsin as the state's Governor Scott Walker is forced to fight union efforts to oust him from office. In a powerful new internet ad, Walker strikes back against big labor with the help of a school board member and mother both making the case that he shouldn't be voted out while he is still making positive progress for the people of Wisconsin.


KAREN, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER: We were worried on the state budget. It was going to mean less money for our school district and we have 25 schools. But Governor Walker, he gave us options that reduced our biggest costs so that we could put more money back into our classrooms.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WISC.: I'm committed to working together to create more jobs, to improve our schools and to protect our seniors. You know, Wisconsin's best days are yet to come. It won't happen overnight, but we are on our way.



HANNITY: Now meanwhile opponents of the governor rallied in front of his private home last night, hundreds of protesters gathered and marched and quote, "Occupy Walker's Street."

Now Democrats have 60 days from yesterday to collect the more than 540,000 signatures that are necessary for the recall to move forward.

Joining me now exclusively for his first interview since the recall movement began is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Well, first, Governor, I have to admit, I don't care if they go to the capital and protest. I don't care if people disagree with you, but to do this to your family, your neighbors, you have kids, how bad was it last night?

WALKER: Well, there were about 1,000 folks out there, and thankfully some of them were supporters, but in the end for our neighbors, even more so than for my family. I have a 16 and 17-year-old.

Certainly, I look out for them and worry about the two of them. But I have neighbors on one side that have two small girls and I have a neighbor two houses away that's an 80-year-old woman and I just think for them, they didn't ask for this.

I asked for it, I can handle it. I'm a big boy, I can handle protests at the capital. I can handle protest at the executive residence, but doing it out front of people's homes to me just shows just how far and how extreme money and bodies coming in from other states are going to drive this recall effort.

HANNITY: You know, it's funny because when you really get to the bottom line and you take all the emotion out of it and we watched you take on unions and collective bargaining, all you were asking was state employees, they paid 12.6 percent of their healthcare premiums -- and people in the private sector pay in many cases twice that -- and you were asking that they continue to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary towards their pension. Previously they only paid nothing, I mean, very standard operating procedure.

WALKER: Yes, pretty simple. Matching the retirement and anybody not only a pension of 401(k) making a match, if they're lucky, they get an employer that matches and most people in my state, the middle class are paying 20 percent or more, in some cases 25 percent or more.

We are asking for 12.6 percent. I have a brother, a great younger brother who works as a banquet manager of a hotel and part-time bartender and his wife works for a department store, the two of them epitomize the middle class here in the state of Wisconsin, really many ways across America.

He told me when this all happened, he would love to pay what we're being asked to pay and that includes my family as well because he pays more than $800 a month just for his health insurance and the little bit he can set aside for his 401k.

That's a much, much better deal for him if he was a public employee even after our changes. What we are doing is very reasonable. I say, if you ask your neighbor on either side they would say what we've asked from public employees is pretty reasonable.

HANNITY: I have read what you implemented now has saved -- by the way, you had a budget deficit of what? You balanced the $3.6 billion deficit, and you are able to do it without raising taxes on the people of Wisconsin. And create 40,000 new jobs in just the first six months, right?

WALKER: Right. It's one of those where nearly every state across America had a deficit. We had one of our largest deficits two years ago. Started out with $3.6 billion deficit and ended up with a budget for the next two years that actually has a surplus without raising taxes.

Next month when people in my state get their property tax bill, they're going to see for the first time in many years that, for example, our school tax levies are actually going down on average in the state of Wisconsin and yet we still have a better teacher-student ratio, 13.5 teachers for every one student versus a higher rate at the national level.

We are still doing better adding more net teacher positions than we saw layoffs in any school district around the state. Our schools and local governments are doing better because we gave them the tools.

We protected middle class jobs and middle class property taxpayers, unlike other states like Illinois where they raised taxes, laid off thousand of public employees and still saw services reduced. We did it the right way.

HANNITY: So you were able to actually save the jobs of people because these municipalities, local governments were going bankrupt and we are talking about $465 million you are saying in savings.

Now, if the unions go forward with this, and the special interests go forward in this, how much is it going to cost the taxpayers? Do you have an estimate how much it will cost for them for this recall effort?

WALKER: Well, they are saying in some cases up to $10 million just in taxpayer's money, not to mention the tens of millions they spent in the recalls earlier this year against state senators. You will see all sorts of negative ads.

We don't have to wonder. In Illinois, they have taken the path that many of the proponents of the recalls have advocated for. We've seen just a total failure, almost two-thirds increase in individual income taxes and nearly 50 percent increase in business taxes.

We've seen the exodus of jobs and business and wealth outside of that state, many coming north to Wisconsin. We don't want to go backwards. We want to go forward. In fact, it's one of those -- we have a lot of people in the last day go to one of our special websites, standwithgovernorwalker.com. And even go to the ads we talked about, scottwalker.org where you see every day people in our state. First one was a school board member and a mother. But you are going to see teachers. You're going to see parents. You're going to see seniors. You're going to see employees, many employees who been hired since the beginning of the year that will tell the story about how the reforms are working in Wisconsin and we've avoided the mistakes they have made in other states.

HANNITY: It's amazing. People aren't getting fired, you balanced your budget, $3.6 billion and people want to attack you for being responsible because they want what they want.

And I don't think they are going to be successful, Governor, and I think it took a great act of political courage to stand for what is right. We will continue to follow this and we appreciate you coming on the program to talk about it.

WALKER: Thank you, Sean. Good to be with you.

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