Republican lawmakers have chosen Scott Fitzgerald to once again be the State Senate Majority Leader and Mike Ellis to be the State Senate's President next session. Both say they'll take their cues from Governor Scott Walker.
The choices mean Fitzgearld and Ellis will resume the roles they held prior to this summer's state senate recall elections. Ellis responded with a dramatic victory speech.
"What we did in the last session was merely chapter one in a ten chapter book," he said.
But in the Senate the job of president is largely ceremonial. It's the Majority Leader who calls the shots, and Fitzgerald was more subdued.
"You know, I truly believe that there's kind of a renewed effort to work across the aisle and get back to kind of a normal temperature when it comes to the legislature," he says.
Fitzgerald said the budget would be the first priority next session, but he said the shape it took would be up to Governor Scott Walker.
"I mean I think there's a lot of stuff that the governor's office is probably working on in regards to the state budget that I'm not necessarily privy to," he says. "I mean eventually I think that the legislative leadership will be brought into the fold. I mean from my perspective, though, first and foremost, I think that this budget has to be in balance."
Fitzgerald said he'd support using an increase in tax revenue to fashion some kind of income tax rate cut.
"The one caveat is that we have to keep in the back of our mind that at some point we're going to have to deal with Medicaid, Medicare," he says. "We just don't know what that number is going to be."
Barring a recount in the close race for the Oshkosh/Fond du Lac Senate seat, Republicans will assume an 18-to-15 majority next session.