The budget conference committee finished hashing out a compromise over the weekend…though the result was a party-line vote. Democratic Senator and Budget Chair Wesley Chesbro:
“But overall, the differences are much smaller in terms of the overall dollar amounts in the various categories – we are in a virtually identical place with the Governor. What remains to be worked out is the details.”
The big detail: paying down the deficit. The Governor wanted to put one billion toward paying off bonds used to balance the budget – but Democrats want to use that money for other debt. Republican Assemblyman and Budget Chair Rick Keene says a seven and a half billion dollar windfall actually made things tougher:
“That’s the difficulty as we all explained early on, is that when you have additional money, people want to spend it 2,3,4, times.”
Keene maintains the Democrats want to increase the deficit by more than a billion – though they dispute that. Both houses are set to vote Thursday.