Thanks to Bob Garrrett of the Morning News for informing me that a budget deal appears to be imminent.
As I reported yestereday, Pitts thought he had a deal. It involved using the Rainy Dav Fund to pay for the shortfall in the current biennium and allowing some of it to be used in the next biennium. (Ogden wants to use up to $3 billion.) Everybody was ready to sign on. The deal foundered because of the insistence of the House that Perry should individually issue a separate statement in addition to the joint statement. The decision to demand more of the governor was extremely ill-advised. The Quorum Report quoted Pitts as saying, “We want the governor to come out in public and tell it’s okay to use the Rainy Day Fund. We hear it in private, but we want to hear it in public.” The lack of trust speaks volumes. Pitts wanted the governor to give cover to Republican members, but this was not the way to get it.
The gamesmanship is still going on, The governor’s representatives are telling committee members that he wants the committee to pass the supplemental bill, but Perry has not endorsed it.
What can we conclude from all this? My guess is that the governor found that he had gotten out too far on a limb and was beginning to lose support in the Legislature. (He has never had a lot of support anway.) Furthermore, in the words of one longtime ally of the governor, “Members are getting blistered by the schools.” If they are feeling pressured now, imagine how they would have felt in July. The deadline for getting the bill printed was drawing near. The timing for the deal was right.
I have seen a lot of sessions, and my general belief is that most of the time, things work out. I confess that I didn’t think it was going to work out this time, that Perry’s ambitions would get in the way. Maybe I am jumping the gun, but it does look like things are going to work out, or at least aren’t going to be as bad as everyone thought. It’s still going to be a very lean budget.