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Wednesday’s dueling press conferences showed just how far Legislature is from a budget deal

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on April 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm with No Comments »
April 5, 2012 2:50 pm

I knew they were in trouble when both sides used the same wording to describe what they have done to reach a deal.

At a morning press conference Wednesday, House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan said they hadn’t been spending much time on the budget because “we’ve been negotiating a set of reform bills that move significantly toward their position.”

Later at their own presser, the Republican/Democrat coalition in the Senate responded that they’d been doing most of the giving.

“If you are not getting something, you just keep moving to the other side,” said Sen. Joe Zarelli, the GOP budget lead in the Senate. “We have moved significantly but we’re not going to fold up the tent and go home.”

There was even some disconnect on the purpose of the press conferences and in the House’s committee passage Wednesday of a set of reform bills. A briefing paper released Wednesday by House Democrats said, “Here are our new proposals for budget and reform measures to break the legislative impasse.”

How does it break the impasse, House Ways and Means Chairman Ross Hunter was asked.

It isn’t designed to break the impasse, Hunter said. Instead it is to give visibility to the Democrat’s current position.

“We need some visibility with the public for what our current offer is and this is our current offer,” he said.

So how did that work out?

“It takes us further apart rather than brings us together,” Zarelli said.

So it all might have been a manifestation of something politicians say they never want to do … unless the do. Both sides seemed to be intent on negotiating in the press.

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