It appears the state budget will continue to be stalled in the Senate as the Finance Committee passed the House of Delegates version of the bill after changing it into the Senate's original version Tuesday on a party-line vote.
Following the committee hearing when asked if anything had changed on the budget front after his caucus stooped the Senate's state spending plan Thursday, Senate Minority Leader DIck Saslaw, D-Fairfax, said, "Doesn't appear to does it."
In moving to pass the amended version Sen Emmet Hanger, R-Augusta, said when the budget proposal comes back to the Senate floor later this week it should be amended to take out a major concession to restore $42 million dollars for the cost to compete for school support staff in Northern Virginia over Democratic intransigence.
"I think it's appropriate for us to reflect on the fact that if we're going to have a budget we're going to have to have cooperation in a bipartisan spirit, " Hanger told his colleagues on the committee. "There are other issues out there that have people concerned that need to be addressed. But it's my assertion they need to be addressed somewhere other than in the budgetary process. And I really think it's appropriate - if not here than on the floor - to remove that concession if we're not getting any support in a bipartisan spirit."
Republicans contend that the Democrat's refusal to pass a budget plan in the evenly-divided chamber goes back to "bruised egos" over Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling using his tie-breaking vote to give the GOP control Senate on the first day of the 2012 General Assembly session.
Because Bolling can't use his tie breaker on budget matters, Democrats can hold up the spending plan indefinitely.
Democrats say this is not the reason for their refusal to support the budget proposal, rather they have substantive policy issues with the levels of funding for education and the social safety net.