A key lawmaker says it's normal for Senate Republicans to have some disagreements on the state budget, and he says he's confident deals will be reached.
Republicans control the state Senate 18 to 15. But at least a couple of GOP Senators are calling for an increase in local school aid, and three others are demanding the school voucher expansion Governor Scott Walker wants. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) says eventually the Senate will agree on a school aid plan that puts in more dollars per pupil than the governor has proposed.
"I don't know what dollar amount, because we haven't gotten along that far in the process, but I think you would see an increase of between $150 and $200 in the per pupil amount."
Fitzgerald predicts school vouchers may not exactly expand to the nine more cities the governor is saying.
"It may not look like a district to district expansion. There's a lot of discussion about maybe like coming up with a different configuration like you see in other states with choice."
But the leader of Senate Democrats, Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) says the voucher issue will continue to bedevil the Republicans, including Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah), a frequent voucher critic.
"And I think if he votes for any budget that contains voucher expansion he is going to have a hard time not looking like a hypocrite when he goes back to his school district."
Larson concedes the 15 Democrats can't stop majority Republicans. But he says Democrats may be able to cooperate with moderate members of the GOP on certain budget amendments on the Senate floor - especially pertaining to public education.