Senate Democratic leader proposes budget compromise

Senate Democratic leader proposes budget compromise

May 18th, 2010 by Andy Sher in Local Regional News

NASHVILLE - Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle today pitched a budget plan he hopes can become the basis of a compromise.

The proposal accepts Republican senators' stance and eliminates $134 million in additional taxes proposed by Gov. Phil Bredesen. But it delves deeper into state reserves to the tune of $142.7 million than a Senate Republican plan does.

"What we're trying to do is find something that can pass the Senate and pass the House. The administration amendment in my mind does not have enough votes in the House and the Senate to pass in its original provisions."

He said the plan was developed in "conversations" with other lawmakers and is intended to "move the process forward."

It trims a proposed Gov. Bredesen's proposed a 3 percent one-time "bonus" for state workers, teachers and higher education employees from $113 million to about $75 million, resulting in a one-time payments of $800 for workers.

But in opposition to GOP plans, it maintains recurring funding for the Career Ladder supplemental pay program that benefits many teachers.

Deputy Gov. John Morgan explained Sen. Kyle's proposal, which was worked out with some House members, to the Senate Budget Subcommittee earlier today. But Mr. Morgan and Sen. Kyle emphasized it is not the administration's plan.

No second on the plan was made in the Budget Subcommittee. The panel adjourned until later. Meanwhile, House Democrats are caucusing behind closed doors to let rank-and-file discuss the proposal.