have begun this week in advance of next week’s special session, with parties
involved hoping to get a deal in place before Monday to avoid another dramatic
last-second finish to what will be the last session of the fiscal year. Senate
President John Alario says they’re looking to craft a compromise deal that can
get the 70 votes needed in the House for passage.
“You have to
start someplace, but it was a very friendly meeting. I think everybody here
respects each other and understands that we have to find some spot in between that
makes it work for both sides.”
additional revenue, the current budget would require large cuts to higher
education, Children and Family Services, Corrections, and other state agencies,
as well as a 30 percent cut to TOPS.
Republican was one of the Senate members who backed a half-penny sales tax
renewal that would have fully funded state government. Alario says after two
special sessions, he’s more and more legislators leaning towards a deal that
would fully fund state services.
“This is an
opportunity to fund TOPS at a hundred percent, fully fund our universities, children
and healthcare would be adequately protected, and the threat of throwing people
out of nursing homes would certainly be completely off of the table.”
20 House Republicans
supported a third penny sales tax, while 22 supported a half-penny, which came
7 votes shy of passage. The difference between the two taxes on a 100 dollar
purchase is 17 cents.
sales tax that came close to passage last session had a six-year sunset, but
Alario says in a perfect world, he’d like to see a permanent tax plan put in
place to give the state some fiscal predictability.
“You can make
the half-cent permanent, then in two or three years if you saw you didn’t need
it, it only takes a civil majority to repeal it. I think it would help with our
bond rating agencies and just make things a lot more stable.”
begins on June 18th.