They did away with the one-time state worker pay raise but included bonuses contingent on improvement in the economy. The governor's little tax and fee increases are gone, so everyone can go home and tell voters it's a "no-new-taxes" budget. But Democrats didn't want to vote for those, either. And in fact, the budget depends on a new tax on hospitals to draw federal matching money and shore up TennCare.
Thankfully, Republicans knuckled under to Democratic demands for money for infant mortality programs and for land conservaton.
For every day of budget impasse, it cost taxpayers $24,400 in meal and motel money for these lawmakers.
The GOP's big victory? They beat back the House speaker's fish hatchery—a slab of pork paid for by the federal government that Republicans never would have mentioned if they weren't trying to punish Kent Williams for making them look foolish at the beginning of this General Assembly. So in taking their revenge, they looked foolish again.