Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said that he's "an eternal optimist" when it comes to passing his budget that nixes collective bargaining rights.

On NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, Walker said of the Democratic lawmakers who fled the state to hold up the vote, "in the end I believe that at least some of those state senators will come back."

He said his goal was to avoid layoffs that would occur if the cuts aren't passed. "My hope is at least one of those 14 state senators feels the same," the governor said.

Walker said he wasn't buying assurances from unions that they were committed to working together to resolve the standoff as he'd seen unions rush to get contracts through in localities in the past two weeks, one even pushing through a pay increase.

If serious, he said, they would have offered up contrcts that paid more for pensions and healthcare, "but they're not."

"To me, laying off peple in this economy is just completely unacceptable," Walker said. "If Senate Democrats don't come back we'll be forced to."

He defended the plan that kept bargaining rights for police and firefighters as a public safety issues, since Wisconsin couldn't afford to have those workers walk off their jobs as teachers did.

"We're broke and it's about time somebody stood up and told the truth in this state," Walker said. "I make no apology for the fact that this is an important moment in time."

"...I know that collective bargaining has a cost," he said.