As the State budget stalemate stretches past day 50, the Republican leadership in the General Assembly has clearly shifted gears on strategy. A number of “mini budgets,” legislation dealing with small portions of the budget (some taken out word for word) dealing with employee pay raises, Medicaid funding, and other critical issues are moving through committees. These new versions of bills are almost entirely pieces of the budget bill pulled out and pasted into existing legislation, usually in conference reports that go to both the House and Senate floor to be voted on with no amendments allowed. Read the full report here.
After nearly two months of trying to find the votes to override the Governor’s veto of the budget, it appears Republican leadership has changed their strategy. Last week and this week, Republican leadership has pushed House Bill 74, which was amended to be a bill that would refund taxpayers more than $660 million this fall, by giving those taxpayers refunds of $125 for individuals and $250 per couple (as long as the return paid that much in taxes for 2018). In an effort to get around a budget impasse, Republicans have also begun pushing legislation to the Governor’s desk containing mini-budget pieces which are particularly popular and will be difficult for the Governor to veto, such as State employee raises. On Thursday, the Governor called the push for House Bill 74 and the piecemeal budget bills “politics and gimmicks,” but did not say if he intended to veto the series of bills. Sen. McKissick commented on the matter and says he expects a veto from the Governor, and suggests that the refund legislation “seems more for political messaging.” These bills will be difficult for the Governor to veto from a political standpoint, and could potentially make it more difficult for Democrats to stick together to keep any vetoes from being over-ridden. Read the full report here.
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