WASHINGTON, D.C. — The impact of the fiscal cliff on states like Wisconsin took center stage at the White House Tuesday, December 4th as Gov. Scott Walker shared his ideas on how to avoid the economic crisis.
Gov. Walker met with President Barack Obama at the White House Tuesday, bringing with him an urgent message from Wisconsin.
“We thought it was imperative to focus on things that unite us, Republican and Democrat alike, so that’s really what the focus was,” Gov. Walker said.
Gov. Walker said the only way forward is together. Gov. Walker stood shoulder-to-shoulder with five other governors, including three Democrats and three Republicans — all members of the National Governor’s Association Executive Committee.
Gov. Walker said the meeting with President Obama was a positive step towards resolving the crisis and says he was attempting to represent all 50 states.
“Our focus was not to endorse a specific plan, nor to dismiss a specific plan, but rather to point out that as governors, it’s important we have a seat at the table,” Gov. Walker said.
The discussions in Washington deal with how to reduce the nation’s budget deficit and accumulating debt. Democrats say raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, but Republicans believe it can be done simply with spending cuts.
“None of us want to see taxes on middle class folks go up, and we think it would have a significantly negative impact on our economy, but we’re not backing one particular plan or the other,” Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware said.
“You’ve got to come together and get this done. This impacts the economy, the uncertainty that’s out there lingering. It’s creating havoc with our economy in our states,” Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah said.
Arkansas Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe wants to make sure whatever cuts result from the fiscal cliff negotiations don’t shift the burden onto the states.
“The states are willing to share the sacrifice. We don’t want to take it all, but we’re willing to do our part. We don’t need shifting. We don’t want cuts on the federal level that merely require tax increases on the state level,” Gov. Beebe said.
Gov. Walker says the bottom line is, governors can make suggestions but not final decisions.
“We’re not elected to fix all of the problems here in Washington. The president and the members of Congress are here to do that. We’re here to offer a resource in a way that can help not just our state government, but the people we represent in each of our states,” Gov. Walker said.
Gov. Walker says he’s optimistic Democrats and Republicans can reach a deal by Christmas.