It was almost déjà vu. Except this time there wasn’t a four-hour long debate.
The Senate passed the House tax package, including the progressive income tax and gas tax holiday, 19 to 17, Thursday around 8 p.m.
The last time the Senate dealt with the exact same issues included in the House bill its members were at the Capitol until 3 a.m. in the morning.
Rather than have the exact same debate, Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Southport, suggested the transcript from Wednesday morning be included in the transcript for Thursday.
He was joking, of course, but both parties agreed there was no need to engage in the exact same debate.
McKinney said the sooner the bill gets to the governor the sooner “she’ll veto it,” and the sooner “we’ll have a budget.”
Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said the three sides “have already restarted negotiations,” on the budget. He said he can’t say they’re near an agreement but they’re having “meaningful discussions.”
Meanwhile, leaders from the Democratic caucus in the House and leaders from the Democratic caucus in the Senate were negotiating an energy bill compromise behind closed doors hoping to find common ground between the Energy and Technology Committee Chairman’s dueling bills.
The lobbyists for big energy look way too happy for it to be good for consumers, so don’t forget to turn off your computer monitors when you leave the room.