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The legislature finally passes the nearly $30 billion state budget in late-night votes with Senate Republicans surrendering on their major points of disagreement with the governor. The budget includes bonds for bridges and higher education buildings, and pre-kindergarten money goes into the recurring expenditure column after all. Republicans do manage to spread bridge bonding over four years, and they succeed in mandating $55 million in cuts to be made if tax receipts fail to reach projections. But they have to leave it up to the governor to decide what is cut. Got all that? The session's supposed to end today.
House GOP leader Jason Mumpower: "This is a budget that substantially reduces bonding and debt than what the governor proposed, and this budget makes cuts beyond what the governor proposed. While it's not perfect, it led us in a direction that's more similar to perhaps what a Tennessee family does at a time like this."
Senate speaker Ron Ramsey: "It's the best compromise. I could pick this budget apart, anybody could pick this budget apart, but in the end it's about the best you can do with the circumstances we're under."
House Democratic caucus chair Mike Turner: "With the exception of the staggering of the bonds, we got everything we wanted."
Rep. Brian Kelsey: "Just like the federal government, we're spending money today and we're leaving it to our children to pay for it tomorrow."
See Chas Sisk
... Tom Humphrey
... Ken Whitehouse
... Andy Sher
... Erik Schelzig and Lucas Johnson.
In a rare defeat for the gun lobby
, the bill to close public access to handgun carry permit records falls three votes short in the Senate. ... The governor hunts for green-collar jobs
in Switzerland. ... House votes to delay Tennessee Voter Confidence
Act. ... Republicans get "all huffy and puffy"
with Rep. Stacey Campfield because he calls them "Obama Republicans" for voting for the state budget. Campfield:
"I stand by it. If the shoe fits, wear it. They know who they are. If they think their ideals and idea match what Obama would be doing if he were here, that's great. If they don't think it fits, they don't have anything to worry about."