Another day, another story about how they're still not quite there on school finance reform and how to pay for it.
The prospects of a public school property tax cut passing the Legislature dimmed Wednesday as House and Senate negotiators argued over whether businesses or consumers should carry the burden of paying for the cuts.
"I give it 50-50," House Ways and Means Chairman Jim Keffer said about House Bill 3, which must pass in order to provide the one-third cut in property taxes the House wants.
The legislative session ends Monday. The problem is the natural reluctance of lawmakers to vote for new taxes as well as deep divisions between the Senate and House over how high to increase the sales tax and how to structure a new broad-based business tax.
"The fact that we haven't yet come to a consensus is evidence of just how deeply passionate both sides are about getting it right for the kids of this state," said House Speaker Tom Craddick.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said "there's no reason we can't reach an agreement tonight or tomorrow," but expressed frustration with House insistence on tax formulas that give businesses a property tax cut that would be paid for by consumers.
How dire is the Lege's plight? It's so bad that In the Pink has run out of Meg Ryan movies to compare the Craddick/Dewhurst bickering to, and has started on Rutger Hauer flicks instead. If that isn't a cry for help, I don't know what is.
So is it time for us to finally get some of that vaunted leadership that Governor Perry likes to brag about?
With reporters clomping behind him, Gov. Rick Perry barreled out the east doors of the Capitol until he reached the drive outdoors, where he said: "Things are not going well."
Nope. The Republican governor was speaking only of the loss-prone Houston Astros.