Local News

Legislative Battle Over State Budget Continues

Posted July 7, 2005

— The give-and-take continues for state budget negotiators. Lawmakers hope to hammer out a spending plan this month, but sorting out taxes is the latest battle.

To ram through a temporary budget, legislative leaders tentatively approved a tax trade-off -- a slight reduction in the higher income tax rate in exchange for a trimmer sales tax.

Lawmakers now concede the cuts may not come.

One revenue sticking point is the proposed tax hike on cigarettes. There's an intense tug of war between 25 cents and 35 cents a pack.

Another point of contention is a proposed state lottery. House Speaker Rep. Jim Black said Thursday that lawmakers must vote on the lottery outside of a budget deal.

"There's a number of items on the table," Black said. "They go on the table and off the table, and that's just the way this process works."

Despite all of the negotiations, leaders point out they do not have anything in writing on which members can vote yet, and until they do, it is all just talk.


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