The funniest thing about last week was the déjà vu.
The House Majority met in caucus and established some sweeping budget goals, just like they did last year.
The Senate Majority also met to start digging into the budget, like we did a year ago.
Once again, following those meetings, reporters peppered us with questions like, "The House proposed a $300 million tax cut, what is YOUR proposal?" A few seemed to anticipate - almost hope for - a punch and counterpunch.
The reality, I hope, is a bit more nuanced than Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed.
The House proposal was just the beginning of their internal decision-making process. There are few details; it can't be regarded as a fully-developed policy proposal. But it's a beginning. Given their numbers and the nature of their team they have a greater need to drive their members and sketch out a directional framework early in the game.
The Senate goes through a much different decision-making process. We started with a Wednesday caucus where we spent a few hours discussing
- The amount of (and sources of) Utah's tax revenue;
- How the Spending Cap will effect this year's budget;
- Last year's budget numbers;
- This year's new Committee Allocations;
- A detailed overview of the Governor's budget proposal;
Our members walked out of there with an education. They have more of the tools they will need to make some incredibly complicated and consequential decisions.
We'll meet again on January 9th, and dozens of times during the 2007 Session.
At this point, our thinking is probably more aligned with the Governor's proposal than the road map sketched out in the House. We appreciate the Governor's attention to detail and we are comfortable with the underlying philosophy. But it would be premature to make final judgements.
We'll do our homework first.