We're having some technical issues with the audio from this morning's press conference with Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham). We may not be able to post the video. Our apologies!
Berger said the anti-HCR mandate bill, H2, has been moved from this afternoon's Senate calendar to tomorrow's session. Also on Wednesday's calendar will be S27, the Involuntary Annexation Moratorium, expected to receive committee approval this afternoon.
Berger also says the Charter Schools reform bill, S8, will be voted on in Wednesday's Education committee. It should be on the Senate floor for a vote on Thursday.
The medical malpractice reform bill, H33, started hearings today in Senate Judiciary 1. The committee will take public comments on H33 Thursday, and is expected to vote it out to the Senate floor early next week.
Berger confirmed he's skeptical about the Governor's proposal last night to cut the corporate tax rate from 6.9% to 4.9% in the next budget cycle. "The idea of reducing the corporate rate is something that we're in favor of," Berger explained. "But we've also said all along that the first thing we have to do is to figure out how to balance the budget."
He said he hasn't seen the Governor's budget yet, so he didn't want to comment in too much detail. But he said it's hard to imagine how, given the current $2.7 billion shortfall, she could afford to start new programs, protect teachers, and cut taxes without some other sources of new revenue.
The Senate GOP would not support any new taxes, Berger said, even so-called "sin taxes" on alcohol and tobacco, which are likely to appear in Perdue's proposal Thursday. He said Republicans "can and will" cut their way out of the shortfall. "It's our belief that the overall problem is not too little revenue. It's too much spending."