The Dispatch is reporting that Ranking Minority Senate Finance Committeemember Sen. Ray Miller believes a budget deal is “within reach.” Miller, if you recall, was a reliable indicator as to the Democratic Caucus’ reaction to the last Senate GOP proposal. His indication of possible support suggests that the latest Senate GOP proposal–full tax cut freeze coupled with Strickland’s public contract reform and sentencing reform proposals–is likely what will emerge. I can’t imagine that Miller would offer such a statement unless he truly believed the Senate GOP proposal was something that the Democratic Senate Caucus would be willing to uniformly support.
So far, the only person indicating any hostility to it is Speaker Buddish who is saying he wants a “clean bill” that is just the tax freeze. The Senate GOP Republicans, however, say they would like some structural changes that could lay the groundwork to make the next budget’s likely deficit more manageable.
Budish’s objections are not just about wanting a “clean” bill. The Dispatch has been harping about how the public construction contract reform proposal, in particular, has been languishing in the House.
Given that both of these were proposals in Gov. Strickland’s initial budget, however, I don’t expect the Governor to consider these as “poison pills” like the last Senate GOP proposal was stacked. However, that may not be the feeling of Speaker Budish. Therefore, the remaining issue is whether this is a bitter pill the Speaker is willing to swallow in order to get the budget empasse finally resolved.