OLYMPIA -- Stop me if you've heard this one: The House general operating fund budget for the 2011-13 biennium will be released Monday.
That's the rumor, which is pretty much the same rumor floating around last Friday afternoon, except that last Friday afternoon when that was said, folks meant Monday of this week, as in four days ago.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Ross Hunter, D-Medina, was purposefully vague today when asked about the timing.
"We have to have the votes and I'm still working it very hard," he said when queried by reporters in the wings of the House chamber. "I'm not saying when it will come out because I don't know. Typically it comes out on a Monday...I do not know when when I'm releasing it."
Releasing the budget on Monday would likely mean hearings later in the week, on days when labor unions, social workers, and faith-based groups plan to stage a series of protests in the Capitol demanding something that the spending plan almost certainly will not have:
Closing some tax exemptions as a way of increasing state revenue rather than cutting programs to close the budget gap.