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Gov. Walker says reforms saved state $1 billion, Dems disagree

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BROWN DEER -- Gov. Scott Walker says his policies are working and points to what his administration says is $1 billion in savings thanks to recently-passed reforms. The state Democratic Party however, says the governor is using fuzzy math.

Gov. Walker's reforms required state workers to contribute more to their pensions and benefits -- and they stripped collective bargaining powers away from state workers' unions.

On Monday, Gov. Walker made his announcement about reform savings at a round table of government officials at Dean Elementary School in Brown Deer. Several of them said the reforms gave them flexibility to competitively bid health insurance plans and cut down on overtime.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party says the governor cherry picked a handful of examples. But officials with the Democratic Party say those examples don't tell the story of the state's struggling economy.

"There's no question he can find a couple of selective anecdotes, but it's very selective information, like virtually everything," Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski said.

Under Gov. Walker's budget, state aid to local school districts was reduced by nearly $800 million. But the governor said the only districts struggling are the ones that did not adopt his reforms.

"The largest single chunk of that come from three districts -- Milwaukee, Kenosha and Janesville. What's unique about those districts?  Those are three of the biggest districts in the state, but three that didn't use our reforms," Walker said.

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