Nightly News | February 17, 2011
>> you. tonight after watching citizen uprisings now across the globe for weeks, how about a big one here in the united states . in wisconsin , where the state is broke and where the governor is proposing drastic cuts he says will save billions of dollars. nbc's carrie sanders reports tonight on the workers who are rising up and saying no to some of the most extreme cuts in the nation.
>> i'll continue to keep going around.
>> reporter: in wisconsin today, a game of hide and seek . the state legislature 's sergeant at arms on the hunt for 14 senate democrats , who fled the state, driving an hour and a half away to neighboring illinois, rather than vote on the republican budget cuts. for the third day, more than 25,000 teachers descended on the wisconsin statehouse. with so many teachers absent from the classroom, schools there shut down again today. civil service employees are upset. with newly elected republican governor scott walker 's plans to balance the budget.
>> people viewed what we're proposing as being modest.
>> reporter: walker says he will cut up to $3.6 billion in the budget, in large part by eliminating union's collective bargaining powers to negotiate wages and benefits.
>> i think we've lost a sense of democracy. i feel like what people in egypt are fighting for right now, that's exactly what i feel like i'm fighting for right now railroads budget battles not just in wisconsin . in michigan today, protesters say $1.2 billion in cuts unfairly penalizes government employees. in nearly every state and the district of columbia , state budgets are out of whack.
>> the national government is belt tightening passing it down to the states and the states are passing it to the locals and all of a sudden there's no place else to turn.
>> reporter: the short falls are so severe they said if states were businesses, they'd declare bankruptcy. but bankruptcy have this sort has never happened before and it's unclear how a state would even do it. in florida --
>> we can't spend more than we take in.
>> reporter: another newly elected republican governor, rick scott , says he will cut almost $5 billion from the state budget by eliminating police, firefighter and teacher pensions. back in wisconsin tonight, it's a stalemate. senate democrats say they won't return unless the governor bujz budges. kerry sanders , nbc news.