The fight over state employees' collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin has been the defining national political story of the year, as state budget woes in Madison, including a $3.6 billion deficit, has put the spotlight on GOP solutions ---taking on public employee unions. The Republicans say the unions are largely to blame for the state's overburdened budget.

Washington State's $5.3 billion budget shortfall took center stage yesterday, when state house ways and means chair Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48, Medina) released his budget. The GOP has been calling for more concessions from unions, arguing that they should pay 20 to 25 percent of their health care premiums, instead of the 15 percent Hunter calls for.

As the budget talks begin in earnest, we asked two key players from the Wisconsin debate, Republican state senate majority leader Sen. Scott Fitzgerald and state union nurse and SEIU leader Dian Palmer, whether public employees' unions should make more concessions to help fix overburdened state budgets.
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