Partisan divide was clearly on display as AWB's annual Legislative Day began this morning in Olympia. Members of the first panel, Tax & Fiscal Policy, agreed that lawmakers in Olympia will produce a balanced budget that does not include new taxes.
But once they have done that, the talk will turn to taxes. And the disagreements will begin in earnest.
Sen. Joe Zarelli, R-Ridgefield, one of four panelists, began by noting that the recession isn't the only reason the state finds itself in a budget hole. Years of overspending also contributed to the problem, he said.
He also reminded the audience that despite the dire straits the state budget is in, there is actually more money than there was in the last biennium.
"It's very important that we balance the budget, as difficult as it may seem to some, within available revenue," Zarelli said.