This morning I wrote about the prospects for a budget deal, the topic du jour that is uppermost in everyone's mind. The post contained, among other comments, this line: "House Democrats complained that Senate budget chief Tommy Williams had 'misled' them." That is what I was told by what I believed to be reliable sources; the problem is, now I don't believe it was true--or that Williams had sandbagged a deal. A Williams staffer asked me to correct another statement in the article, which was that Willams and Perry are close political allies. While there may have been a time when that was true, it is not true today. For example, a rider in the appropriations bill read as follows:
"Of the funds appropriated elsewhere in this Act to the Health and Human Services Commission in Goal B [never mind the jargon], no amount may be spent to modify Medicaid eligibility unless the commission develops a plan to create more efficient health care coverage options for all existing and newly eligible populations, and the commission receives prior written approval from the Legislative Budget Board before implementing the plan."
Perry wanted the bold-face language removed from the rider. Williams stood firm in resisting. He was determined that the Legislature should write the checks. This is as it should be; the Legislature holds the purse strings.Read More