Despite an exchange of letters this week seeking to resolve the budget stalemate, the governor and the two Republican leaders appear to still be working on the trust they need to resolve this elongated impasse.
It’s been said that it’s impossible to do a legislative deal unless and until there is trust between all the players.
That appears to be lacking here.
The governor sent this letter to the two legislative leaders asking them to back off their demand that she give up some of her budget authority.
The Senate Republican leader says he will not.
“We’re not taking any options off the table,” says Sen. Mike Shirkey.
The Senate Democratic leader is trying to play peacemaker and he concedes the mutual trust thing is not there yet.
“We sill have to build that trust,” explains Sen. Jim Ananich. “She has bent over backwards trying to find ways to find a compromise and get these issues resolved.”
So is the trust there now?
Sen. Ananich answers, “you’d have to ask them.”
6 News did ask.
In her letter, she said if the Republicans agreed to negotiate with her, she would promise not to use her budgetary transfer powers.
Skubick: “Is a hand shake not good enough for you?”
Sen. Shirkey: “I’ve seen evidence of many promises being made during the campaign and during the this budget process that have not been fulfilled. I believe the first step in that process would be to reverse all the transfers.”
The governor’s office reports, tomorrow’s meeting to look at budget changes has been scrubbed.
Meanwhile, lawmakers have less than a week before they take off for hunting season.
If the budget mess is not resolved by then, will the lawmakers stay in town?
Sen. Shirkey: “We’re not altering our schedule at all. There’s no contemplation whatsoever.
Skubick: “How does that play with the public?”
Sen. Shirkey: “I think it plays just fine. They expect us to execute our jobs and that’s what we’ve been doing.”
The three are reportedly still talking.