Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Is It Over? For Now?

Quorum Report has the scoop, HB3 OFFICIALLY DEAD FOR THIS SESSION:
Disappointment over the inability to find a broad based business tax underscored the final conference committee on HB3 this afternoon.

Conferees once again reiterated that they were close on a final bill. Senate Finance Chair Steve Ogden even said that if the odds of success were great if the Governor did call another special session.

But the reality is that the grandiose visions of major school property tax reductions were all but vanquished absent a solution to the ultimate question of how to bring service industries and partnerships into paying taxes. What was once an $8-$14 billion dollar tax bill during the regular session had been diminished down to a mere $2 billion.
Sen. Ogden is always the optimist. From what I understand they are going to get the school finance part finished, if they still have the time:
The conferee's have signed off on HB 2. Now it goes to the printers and is delivered to all the members. A vote cannot occur until 24 hours after all the members get a copy to analyze. Of course on a 2/3rds vote they could suspend the rules, but all the insiders that I've heard from say this isn't likely. The Senate conferee's are still looking at language on HB 3. It's still not been signed off on and it will have to go through the same process. So if a compromise on HB 3 is found it will probably be tomorrow evening before it is taken up for a vote. Stay tuned...

HB 2 has been said to be in member's hands by 7pm tonight. That puts the it on the floor at 7pm tomorrow night, unless they vote to suspend the rules. If HB 2 and HB 3 have been decoupled, so now one can pass without the other. However is HB 2 (teacher pay, textbooks, etc) passes without HB 3 (how to pay for everything just mentioned) then the local districts have to cough up the money (can we say unfunded mandate?). Stay tuned...
Then they may come back in September for another try at property tax relief, they're gluttons for punishment. Can't work in August since the legislature and governor have plans.


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