In a sign of the ramifications the budget standoff has beyond Wisconsin's borders, the Republican Governors Assn. plans to become the latest outside group to launch an advertising campaign in the state, supporting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's effort to end collective bargaining rights for public employees.
The association's chairman, Rick Perry, announced the ad campaign during a briefing with reporters Monday in Washington, where the Wisconsin showdown has loomed over the annual meeting of state leaders.
"Republican governors aren't going to back down from our support of Scott Walker and what he's doing to make the tough decisions in his state to balance the budget," said Perry, the governor of Texas.
The television ad says leaders "don't run away from tough problems," referring to Democratic state senators who have left the state to prevent a vote on Walker's plan. It mentions the Republican governor's position that state employees should pay for more of their own benefits, but it omits the issue of collective bargaining that has fueled weeks of demonstrations at the state capitol.
The ad campaign by the Republican governors is the first salvo of what Perry said would be a two-year effort by the association to "provide some effective oversight of the Obama administration" and offer solutions to issues affecting the states.