Monday, January 7, 2012--6p.m.
MADISON--The legislative session is kicking off with a little pomp, a little circumstance--and lots of talk about working together. "We are still going to have lots of contention and we will have areas we won't agree on," said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Burlington. "But on things that create private sector jobs, that improve the economy, hopefully that train our workforce, I'm very optimistic that we can find bi-partisan support for that."
"Clearly a bi-partisan agenda would be closing the skills gap, passing economic development bills that does not harm the environment or hamper people's rights," said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha.
One area that might cause contention: income tax cuts."Very interested in an income tax cut, there's no doubt about it," said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau. "A lot of discussion about a lot of support for it. I think the big question mark is going to be just exactly what does the governor roll out." "The foundations for what they're doing in trying to cut revenues is based off the fact that we have this small surplus right now," said Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee. "Our interest is making sure that the programs that the people of Wisconsin value are funded. We saw the largest cut to K-12 education in Wisconsin history and until those funds are fully restored we shouldn't be talking about divying up the left over change."
Republicans also said they want to get a mining bill moving pretty much right away and Democrats are hoping their opinions will be taken into consideration. "My hope is to take the very best ideas, not just those that we have seen throughout the course of the last session, take the best ideas from Senate Democrats and the process that they've utilized to, in the end have a bill that gets bi-partisan support, but most importantly brings the mining jobs to Wisconsin in a way that will actually accomplish that goal and not just have a bill pass that never achieves it," said Speaker Vos.
Speaker Vos said they're hoping to have a mining bill introduced by the end of next week, if not sooner.Senator Fitzgerald said he'd like to see a mining bill pass through the Senate by early March.