After more than a month of strained negotiations about how to raise money to offset a gigantic state budget deficit, lawmakers saw a third path Tuesday morning: Raise the tax burden on everybody.
The Senate put forth a plan that takes pieces of both the House and Senate proposals without giving either chamber what it really wanted.
The proposal calls for increases in sales taxes and sin taxes, as well as a two-year surcharge on corporate and individual income taxes for all taxpayers, to raise $990 million. It would put the total budget for this fiscal year at about $18.9 billion.
Budget writers are facing an unprecedented drop in revenue, but the exact size of the deficit has been a hot debate. Revenue next year is expected to be more than $4 billion below what it would have taken to keep funding programs and services at recent levels, and Democrats have described the deficit as $4.5 billion or more. Unlike the federal government, the state must have a balanced budget.
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