Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Here We Go Again
The governor, the eternal optimist, believes she sees a "willingness" to have a constructive conversation with the senate GOP leader on the duo-headed monster of government reform and a new revenue producing tax system. And indeed, Sen. Mike Bishop has said if the house democrats send the GOP controlled senate a plan to lower the sales tax rate and extend it to services, "We have an obligation to look at it." "That sounds familiar," reflects House Speaker Andy Dillon whose been down this road with Bishop before. Bishop whispered that in Dillon's ear last year about cutting the budget by $1.2 billion and then having a vote on raising new revenue. Bishop got his cuts, he did allow a vote on an income tax hike, and fulfilled his part of the not so grand bargain with Dillon who got egg on his face for dealing with Bishop. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me, Dillon should be saying. Neither he nor the governor is willing to make a deal with Big Mike unless they get something in writing to prove he will not just "look at" a new tax system but actually agree to fight to put up some votes for it. Let's just say Bishop is not there yet. One "X"factor however is segments of the business community are on board with the governor and Dillon on the sales tax concept if cost savings in government come with it. This is the "Grand Bargain" the governor keeps talking about under which each side gives a little to get a little and everyone shares in the pain. So far the only pain Mr. Bishop wants to inflict is on every public employee at all levels of government. His mandatory and voter imposed 5% pay slice and 20% co-pay is actually something the governor might consider, if she got something in return. At this read, it's a stand-off with no one giving anything yet. But hey boys and girls the year is young and lots can happen between now and then. The trick for the governor, Dillon and business guys is to convince Mr. Bishop that the word "compromise" is not a four letter word.