House, Senate Make Progress In Budget, Reach Salary Deal

A week after a tax and Medicaid deal collapsed, House and Senate negotiators have made progress on a two-year spending plan for state government. That plan includes a tentative agreement on pay raises for state workers.

Legislative leaders came close to an agreement late last week on whether or not to allow two temporary taxes about to sunset to remain on the books as well as a plan to eliminate the Medicaid expenses paid by counties. That's expected to reach 517 million dollars this year.

But the deal fell apart when Senate Democrats wouldn't agree to allow any county to issue a land transfer tax if approved by local voters in a referendum. That left the General Assembly even further behind on the 20 billion-dollar state budget, since they had already failed to pass a final spending plan before the new fiscal year began July First.

Budget-writers are aiming to get a final plan to the House and Senate for a vote by July 16th.