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Sen. Bill Sapien was defending his bill to move money from higher education to early education, and the Senate Finance Committee wasn’t buying.
“We’re all trying to skin the cat for early childhood education,” said Republican Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort.
“The problem is,” added Democrat Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, “We’re all skinning the same cat.”
I like to make fun of political cliches, but I can also appreciate the power of a phrase, however overused, to communicate, especially in a session as charged and raw as this one. We heard a lot about “stepping up to the plate,” “kicking the can down the road,” and balancing the budget on somebody’s back.
The big question is: Did they step up to the plate? For the most part, yes. Job No. 1 was the budget. For months, the Legislative Finance Committee pored over numbers. Denied tax increases, they cut for the fourth consecutive year and in the process, unusual alliances formed and old ones fractured. All they could do was spread the pain, but they did fashion a budget that will pay for government operations without raising taxes or costing jobs.
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