It only takes one state senator to stand up and do his job to balance the budget and avoid a $165 million loss in savings to the state, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Sunday, challenging any of the 14 Democratic senators who fled the state more than a week ago to return to vote on a budget.

Democrats “need to come back and do what they were elected to do. They don’t have to vote for it, they don’t have to support it,” Walker said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Walker is trying to close a $3.6 billion budget gap in his state for the coming two years in part by cutting $1 billion to local governments. That means cutting health benefits and pensions to the state’s unionized workers.

But while state worker unions have agreed to increase their contributions to their pensions and health benefits to 5 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively, Walker said the one-time fix won’t do much good if big labor can just resort to collective bargaining in the next budget and drive up state expenses again.

“We want to be unique in Wisconsin to give those local government the tools beyond the 5 and 12 percent,” he said.

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