Top of the morning

A public battle of semantics between House and Senate leaders as they privately try to reach a final budget and tax package is nothing new. It happens every legislative session and has become part of the legislative culture. (though it’s never been clear why the negotiations are held behind closed doors in the first place)

But Senator R.C. Soles’ latest spin on the budget and tax negotiations to a local tv reporter takes verbal gymnastics to new heights—or lows.

Soles tells WECT-TV in Wilmington

The House would like to raise the sales tax as I understand it and a few other taxes, and the Senate is doing its best not to raise taxes

Huh? House and Senate leaders have said publicly that they have agreed to raise just under a billion dollars in revenue to avoid some of the most draconian budget cuts proposed to address the $4.6 billion shortfall. The negotiations are about how to raise the money, not whether or not to raise it.

Legislative leaders in both the House and Senate deserve credit for raising new revenue to limit the damage to education and human services. But it is hard to give them credit if they won’t admit they are doing it.

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