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House and Senate Reach Budget Compromise

May 7, 2003
By: Missy Shelton
State Capital Bureau

House and Senate budget negotiators have worked out a compromise budget plan.

Missy Shelton reports.

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Supporters of the latest budget plan say public education comes out on top.

Republican John Russell is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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But it's not as good as it could be, according to Democratic Representative Chuck Graham.

He accuses Republican lawmakers of passing the buck and forcing the burden of funding education on property owners.

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The chairman of the House Budget committee Carl Bearden disagrees.

He says the budget compromise will benefit everyone in the state.

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But not all Republican lawmakers oppose new taxes.

John Russell has said he'd like lawmakers to consider some sort of tax increase proposal that would provide an ongoing source of revenue...Russell says he's bothered by the fact that the budget relies on revenue sources that will be available only this year.

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So far, Russell has been unable to convince his Republican colleagues that voter-approved tax increases should be an option.

Given the anti-tax stance of most Republican lawmakers, Chuck Graham says the majority party finds itself in a tough position with time running out.

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And the governor has threatened to veto the budget plans he's seen come through the House and Senate this session.

Lawmakers have until Friday to send the govenror a budget.

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