Update: Walter Jones at Morris News wrote about this issue with more depth. He also got a comment from Gov. Sonny Perdue, who says things will "be fine." Jim Galloway gets into the negotiations to come between Senate Republicans and Democrats.
Only time will tell just how significant it is, but after weeks of telling anyone who'd listen how much they were working together, the House and Senate have come to some split on the 2011 state budget.
The Senate Finance Committee this morning merged HB 1023 (the JOBS bill, which contains tax cuts) with HB 307 (the hospital tax, which contains a tax increase).
The House canceled all the budget subcommittee meetings it had slated for today, which puts in doubt its plan to vote the budget out of the House and into the Senate this week.
So there's some gamesmanship on the budget, as there is every year. We'll see what it amounts to. But Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers has been saying for most of the session that he thinks the state needs massive layoffs, and that's not what's in the House budget.
So, give it a few days, and we'll see what the real differences are between the House budget and the Senate budget.
There are certainly innocent mitigating factors that could be delaying things, aside from any disagreements. Many senators plan to attend former state Sen. Nancy Scheafer's funeral tomorrow. And Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams said this morning that Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Hill's sister died Monday.
Williams said he still expects the House to vote a budget out this week, and that the 2010 legislative session will wrap up in mid-April.
But we are approaching the homestretch here, where everyone must play their hand. So keep your hat on, we could end up miles from here.