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Notes from the consensus

Have we achieved consensus yet?

The House Ways and Means Committee passed a tax plan Wednesday with a steep hike in the sales tax that many senators oppose.

The plan closes loopholes in the corporate franchise tax without imposing additional business taxes that the House passed earlier in the year and that Senate leaders insist are essential to any new school finance plan.

Disputes between the House and Senate about how to pay for property tax cuts led to the failure of a school finance bill during the regular legislative session that ended Memorial Day.


Senate Finance Chairman Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, said the Senate likely will substitute its own tax plan.

“The Senate is going to want to have a broad-based business tax in lieu of a 1-cent sales tax (hike),” said Ogden.

Lawmakers then would try to work out differences in a conference committee before the session ends July 20.

“It’s better to have a bill over here to discuss than have it blocked in committee,” said Ogden.

I admire your optimism there, Steve, but all I’m saying is this: Other than the passage of time, what has changed that would make these ongoing philosophical disputes easier to resolve?

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