09/28/2010

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A Budget on a Tight Time Line I apologize for the delay in posting today's column. Blame it on an end-of-session brain lock, which is appropriate because the column contains a mathematical error that I'll also blame on an end-of-session brain lock that led me to mix apples and oranges. Obviously, 36 hours from 7 a.m. Tuesday doesn't take you to to 1 a.m. Thursday. It takes you to 7 p.m. Wednesday. I confused the 36 hours normally cited for printing the budget with a charted time line put out by the Legislative Research Commission early in the week that outlined the 42 hours it would take to complete the whole process (including the printing) of getting a budget enacted. The last time line on that chart said a budget agreement reached at midnight Monday would mean the process could be completed at 6 p.m. Wednesday. When negotiations continued to 7 a.m. Tuesday, I added seven hours to the 6 p.m. time and arrived at the possibility that completion of the process could be pushed to 1 a.m. Thursday. It was the right time based on the full 42-hour process, but not on a 36-hour one. My bad. But it will all be moot in a few hours anyway. They'll either make the midnight deadline or they won't. FRANKFORT — When House and Senate leaders announced that budget conference committee meetings would be open to the public, no one really believed the down-and-dirty part of the negotiations would take place in front of the TV cameras and the outsiders granted access to the meetings. It never happens that way. Even when the charade of an open conference committee plays out to the end of the process in the first-floor meeting rooms of the Capitol Annex, the real head-banging and arm-wrestling takes place upstairs in legislative leaders’ offices,...