It’s been 16 days since the conference committee for the State operating budget met.
The first and only time the committee met was on May 15, for an organizational meeting called by Rep. Paul Seaton, who is the presiding chair of the committee. He leads the House Democrats’ side of the bargaining table.
What does the presiding chair do? He calls the meetings. He sets the schedule for resolving the differences between the House and Senate versions of HB 57, the operating budget for 2018.
Seaton has said there will be no budget until there is a state income tax, HB 115. And the Senate won’t pass an income tax. The Senate majority, who are mainly Republicans, say SB 26 means there is no need for an income tax.
Has Seaton dug in his heels and will he let state government shut down because he can’t get his $700 million income tax?
Today, Gov. Bill Walker’s administration emailed 20,000 layoff notices to state workers. It the Legislature fails to pass a budget by July 1, the government ceases to operate because it has no authority to pay anyone.
The layoff notice was just the warm-up act for the official pink slips, which will be sent through the mail on Thursday.