NASHVILLE — An “aggravated” Gov. Phil Bredesen urged legislative leaders today to end their budget stalemate and pass the state’s $28 billion budget.
If they don’t, he said he will press his case directly to the public in a series of appearances across the state, lawmakers said.
The governor’s comments came in a breakfast meeting with top lawmakers as the House and Senate, both Democrats and Republicans, continued weeks of arguing over final details of the budget with no end in sight.
“He wants us to get out of town,” confirmed House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of College Grove. “That’s his perspective. And I respect that. I just think that both sides have made a principled stand. My argument would be there’s things that are pork and their argument is there are things they’ve got to have.”
Bredesen spokeswoman Lydia Lenker said by e-mail that Gov. Bredesen, a Democrat, “did express some frustration that the legislature has yet to conclude its business. Compared to the very serious problems other states are facing, our remaining budget issues aren't insurmountable.”
She said the governor “has no plans, right now, to travel the state but did stress that it's past time to put the budget to bed and move on.”
Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, who was present at this morning’s meeting, said he took the governor’s comments as “he would offer a solution and try to sell it to the people of Tennessee. That’s how I took it ... But that’s what you would be doing if you were around the state saying this is what you think ought to be done. He’s very deferential to us, but I think that’s coming to an end.”
For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...