The House Democrat majority press conference today started out as predicted, with statements from the four participants that were crystal clear: The Senate must agree to all of their tax proposals: Income tax, oil tax, and Permanent Fund. The compromise they seek is complete agreement with their positions.
“We’ve sent over [to the Senate] four big pieces that we talked about: Strategic budget cuts, oil tax credit legislation, restructuring the Permanent Fund, as well as a broad-based measure,” said Speaker Bryce Edgmon at the outset.
“Broad-based measure” is a euphemism for an income tax, something he was clearly having a hard time saying.
But between Edgmon and Reps. Chris Tuck, Paul Seaton and Neal Foster, the four reiterated that all four “pillars” of their plan would need to be adopted by the Senate in order for there to be adjournment. The first pillar he mentioned, “strategic budget cuts” actually ended up being a budgetary increase over last year.
Overall, the House Democrats who are in control added more than $200 million to Gov. Bill Walker’s proposed budget of $4.2 billion.
Their message this morning evidently wasn’t firm enough for Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, who was sitting agitatedly in the audience during the press conference.
She stormed to the front of the room, bumped Rep. Foster from his microphone while he was in the middle of taking a drink of water, and angrily said, “If the Senate thinks we are going to get out of here with just the POMV (Permanent Fund restructuring) they have another thing coming.” And with that, she stormed off.
It may have been unorthodox for LeDoux to butt into a press conference in which she was not an invited participant, but she did articulate the Democrats’ position even more clearly than they had: It’s the Democrats’ tax-and-spend way or the highway. There will be not compromise coming from the House.