This week saw quite a bit of action at the General Assembly as both chambers passed a number of non-controversial (or previously controversial but watered-down) pieces of legislation. It looked to be the annual “desk-clearing” that usually precedes the final budget negotiation process. This year however the negotiations are expected to drag out over the coming weeks at least, and there is little hope that a deal will be struck by the current deadline (set for August 14th). While the House and Senate Finance Chairs have met to discuss the tax portion of the budget plan, the Appropriations Chairs have not, a full month after the State budget was technically due. The two major issues of contention in the budget process – Medicaid reform and tax reform – will need to be settled before budget writers can know how much revenue they have to complete the budget. Once those numbers are set the Chairs of each respective budget subcommittee can negotiate their part of the budget, with other issues being left to the “big Chairs” (main budget writers) from each chamber and the House and Senate leadership. Read the full report here.