While there appears to be no progress in discussions with Republicans in the Legislature, it now appears that Democrats will pass a majority vote budget with no tax extensions by tomorrow’s midnight deadline.
Bouyed by above-projection revenues released by the State Controller today and frustrated by a harsher than expected demand list (particularly on the spending cap and pensions) from Republicans yesterday, Democrats think there are enough solutions to be found to satisfy Wall Street and get through another year. The plan will not, however, meet the governor’s goal of fixing the multi-year structural budget problem of the state, and it’s unclear how he will respond. Yesterday, he suggested that the time to reach agreement has arrived, even if it doesn’t solve the state’s out-year structural shortfall.
For community colleges, the only expected difference from the May Revise is a reduction in the deferral buydown. For planning purposes, this should leave most districts in the Scenario A in the League’s planning scenarios.
More details are expected to emerge later today when bill language is expected to be formally amended in the Assembly.
An additional factor in the Democrats confidence in postponing the fight for another day is the analysis of the redistricting maps. Political consultants from both parties now project that Democrats are perilously close to capturing two-thirds majorities in both houses. The bipartisan team of Paul Mitchell and Matt Rexroad (who are the League’s partners in our redistricting program) offer the following projections:
Assembly (54 = 2/3):
Senate (27 = 2/3):
Democrats and their allies are looking at these numbers, along with the skeptical polling numbers for tax extensions in a special election. The emerging feeling is that the landscape is moving in their favor and that 2012 will be a better year to fight–both in the Legislature and at the ballot box during a presidential general election.
At the end of the day tomorrow, we may have a budget plan and, for community colleges, it could have been far worse.