Budget Bonanza or Bust?

Discord between GOP lawmakers and the governor is just one reason the budget battle might get ugly.

Others are less certain that the budget process will flow as smoothly.
Burns says it's too early to tell whether the rank and file will support leadership's budget proposal.

"We have to find out what the mood of the Legislature is. We really won't know until we get into it," Burns says.

Bundgaard says budget conflict could stretch the legislative session past the 100-day goal for adjournment.

"It could get down to the end of session and get very ugly," Bundgaard says. "We could take the gloves off and duke it out between the House, Senate and governor. The serious decisions would not be made until the end of the session."

If Bundgaard's fears come to pass, Hull's leadership skills will be put to the test.

The governor's challenge will be even more difficult if the more conservative House passes budget provisions that generate strong opposition from about a half-dozen moderate Republican senators.

Democrats only need one Republican to defect in the Senate to throw a monkey wrench into the budget.

"I think we are going to be around for a long time," says one Democratic lawmaker.

Contact John Dougherty at his online address: jdougherty@newtimes.com

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