Will the State Budget Be Decided This Week?

The jury is still out, but lawmakers are working on it.

Last night, on the floor of the House, Leader Odom opined that there was no way the legislature would be done by the end of the week, which elicited groans from several other lawmakers.

Still, the process moves forward.

This morning the Memphis Daily News take a look at the State’s budget negotiations. From the article:

There are essentially three budget proposals being discussed: Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen’s original plan, an alternative proposal from Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle of Memphis, and a Senate Republican plan.

House Democrats are expected to release details of their plan this week, but Democratic leaders say it’s similar to Kyle’s.

All of the proposals seek to keep the state’s rainy day fund plentiful and provide additional support for victims of the historic flooding in West and Middle Tennessee the weekend of May 1-2, which recent estimates show has caused almost $2 billion in damage to Nashville alone.

“We’re looking … to help the needy people of this state,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville said last week at a press conference called by Democratic leaders to discuss their budget proposal.

I don’t have a lot of confidence that the House and Senate can get on the same page on the budget by the end of the week, but we’ll see.

Last year session lasted through mid-June due to long budget negotiations. Considering where we are in the process, I think it’s reasonable to expect that it will be at least another week before the budget is decided.

Conventional wisdom says that legislators want to get done so they can get to campaigning, but they also don’t want to pass a budget that will be used as a blunt instrument against them in their campaigns, which is exactly why I think this is going to take a little longer than many expect.

Reconciling the differences between what the House and the Senate are willing to do is going to take some time. Hopefully I’m wrong, and they’ll wrap it up by the end of the week, but I don’t think so.

We’ll continue following the negotiations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *