Are They Really That Far Apart?
Thursday, March 09, 2006 :::
On one hand, the House and Senate budget conferees are closer than some would have us think. On the other hand, they may as well be living in different dimensions:
"Right now, the obstacle to reaching an agreement is the Senate conferees insistence on including tax increases, including a sales tax on gasoline, in the budget," said Del. Vince Callahan, R-Fairfax.
"Given the minor differences in the core areas of general spending, I feel it is unconscionable to hold the budget hostage to an increase in the gas tax. In 1986, Gov. Baliles did not hold the budget hostage in order to get a transportation package. He separated the responsibilities of funding public education and mental health and held a special session months later devoted solely to transportation."
He sounds a bit like Russ "special session for transportation" Potts.
I kind of think the Senate isn't exactly willing to go to the mat on the gas tax hike. Recall that when Chichester floated this idea in the beginning, he didn't exactly have the same level of support from those who backed him to the hilt in 2004.
Now, let's assume, for the sake of argument, that neither side gets off their hobby horses and comes to an agreement. The stalemate goes on and on and on...closer to that most wonderful thing in the universe (for political reporters, at least) a government shut down.
Will the House allow things to go that far? Recently, Bill Howell was asked this question and he said no, it wouldn't. House members would never allow a shut down. And he believes the only reason the house caved in to the Senate and Gov. Warner in 2004 was because "young members" of the GOP Caucus blinked.
Harry Parrish and Joe May and assorted other senior pols who voted for the tax hike don't exactly qualify as wet behind the ears legislators, do they?
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 3/09/2006