On Monday, the Capitol was churning with news that House legislation containing the hospital bed tax had hit a glitch in the Senate.
Wrote Walter Jones with Morris News Service:
The Senate Finance Committee merged the House version of Perdue’s hospital tax with another bill nicknamed the JOBS Act that has a package of tax breaks for businesses. The committee also sweetened some of the tax breaks to resemble a version of the JOBS Act that Perdue vetoed last year.
The committee announced its 8 a.m. meeting Monday, when legislators were in recess, and said the agenda would be disclosed later. Only two Democrats serve on the committee, and witnesses say neither was present.
Senate staffers say the changes were needed to win enough votes for passage. The hospital tax isn’t popular with either party.
“We had to do some minor, technical amendments,” Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams told reporters Tuesday after the committee meeting.
The real problem is that Senate Democrats, for now, are telling Senate Republicans that they’re not on board with a $169 million tax increase in an election year. Which would force Senate Republicans to shoulder the dangerous load by themselves.
“They can still pass it. They don’t need us – they’ve got 33 votes in the Senate. They only need 29,” said state Sen. Doug Stoner (D-Smyrna). “We’re not committed to passing it or opposing it. We haven’t been brought into the discussion, either.”
That is the sound of the first move at a negotiating table.
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