GOP leggie leaders looking to build on past eight years in new session

The Legislature’s two top Republicans today called for building on the accomplishments of the past eight years as their colleagues were sworn in for new terms.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said the November results, which kept Republicans in control of both chambers, were a “vote on confidence” in the GOP’s stewardship of the Senate.

“In this session, we must renew our commitment to moving Wisconsin forward,” the Juneau Republican said.

He said that includes ensuring government continues to operate within its means, eliminating waste and making sure taxpayer dollars are well spent.

“We still believe that individuals should ultimately decide how to spend their hard-earned paychecks, not the government,” he said.

Fitzgerald saw the GOP majority grow by one seat to 19-14, while Assembly Speaker Robin Vos saw the Republican edge drop one seat to 63-36.

In addressing his members, Vos touted his party’s accomplishments over the past eight years, likening it to “driving in the right lane of a three-lane highway.” Those include the UW System in-state tuition freeze, the state’s low unemployment rate and investments in education.

He said while divided government might mean the Legislature could be pulled toward the “far left lane,” he instead called for a center-lane approach — marked by “a lot more discussion, debate” and arguing.

“I promise you over the next two years we will not let government expand at the expense of our freedoms,” the Rochester Republican said.

He also highlighted areas he said the majority Republicans can work together with Democrats on this session, including a long-term transportation funding solution, legislation to protect pre-existing conditions and a middle-class tax cut.

But Vos warned against Evers’ support on the campaign trail for rolling back the manufacturing and agriculture tax credit to fund a middle-class tax cut, saying the state can cut taxes via “good budgeting and using the surplus wisely” instead of raising taxes on farmers and businesses.

Vos also bemoaned the “hate in politics today,” and he called on his colleagues to “do better” and “have a greater understanding of one another.”

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