Fitzgerald not open to legalizing medical marijuana but not ruling out accepting Medicaid money

Republicans plan to create their own state budget
Fitzgerald not open to legalizing medical marijuana but not ruling out accepting Medicaid money

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said Republican lawmakers will likely create their own state budget instead of using the one Gov.-elect Tony Evers proposes.

“I guess I don’t want to fully just assume that before the governor-elect introduces his budget that we’ll just completely dismiss it, but I’m still assuming we’ll work off of a base budget,” said Fitzgerald, R-Juneau.

Fitzgerald told reporters he spoke privately to Evers on Thursday and encouraged him to meet with lawmakers to find common ground on issues.

Democrats are hoping Evers will help elevate their priorities but say the lame-duck session stripping powers from the governor-elect and attorney-general elect is a poor way to start.

“It doesn’t look like we’re going to start off on the right foot. The actions taken by the Republicans in the last few weeks undermine our democracy. They demonstrated contempt for the voters of Wisconsin,” said Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh.

Fitzgerald told reporters it’s “too early” to say whether he would accept federal Medicaid expansion money, but he would be open to cutting income taxes by 10 percent, two of Evers’ campaign promises.

Legalization of medical marijuana is another issue Evers has said he would support, but it is not on Fitzgerald’s agenda.

“Nah, I don’t see it. I don’t see the support. I don’t support it,” Fitzgerald said.

Hintz called Evers a “breath of fresh air” in the statehouse.

“I think the hope is that we are able to work together, but if the legislative leadership is more interested in playing politics than they are in governing, I don’t expect much to get done,” Hintz said.

Evers’ office did not respond to our request for comment.

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