Ralston & Perdue To Senate: Try Again

April 5, 2010 10:03 am

by Icarus · 12 comments

Over the holiday weekend, frustration from the Governor and the House at the measures the Senate had to add to the Hospital Bed Tax to secure passage began to boil over. Travis Fain has statements from both the Governor and Speaker indicating their displeasure here, noting that Ralston has ruled the Senate passed version “not germane”, thus keeping the House members from voting AGAIN for a tax hike, only to have the Governor ultimately veto the package.

The blame from both inside the Senate chamber as well as from the House and Governor appears to be pointing toward Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, who the Gov and House think may not have been dealing in good faith (or has promised something he can’t deliver). Meanwhile, there are rumblings from inside the Senate about displeasure with the Lt. Gov putting them on the hook to vote for a tax hike that many privately do not support.

Weird things tend to happen in this state after showdowns like those of last week – and during Master’s week. This one deserves some close attention. We’ll see if the “Spring Break” allows tempers to cool, or for the forces of opposition to organize.

Chris April 5, 2010 at 1:19 pm

No comments yet? Is this thing on?

Henry Waxman April 5, 2010 at 1:25 pm

OK, I’ll bite: Man, I hate this bed tax.

ByteMe April 5, 2010 at 1:28 pm

The bill does seem like an unnecessarily obfuscated solution to the problem of needing more revenue streams to fund things.

Andre April 5, 2010 at 1:55 pm

With the bed tax, the budget is balanced. Without it, lawmakers go back to the drawing board.

It’s going to be a very interesting end of the 2010 legislative session. We may even see a special session.

ByteMe April 5, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Expect the legislature to do stupid things and they will never disappoint you.

David Staples April 5, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Unfortunately the legislature consistently lives up to my expectations.

Henry Waxman April 5, 2010 at 2:50 pm

I agree with ByteMe on this one.

If we pass the bed tax, the budget might appear to be balanced on paper but that assumes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agrees to pay an increased Medicaid reimbursement to the state as the result of this bed tax. Since HHS has rejected Georgia’s previous attempts to recycle funds through its uncompensated care pool and its Medicaid Managed Care Organization tax, I don’t think it is wise for the state or anyone else to assume that HHS is going to go along with this latest fund-recycling scheme.

Does the Obama Administration owe anything to the Perdue Administration? What if Rahm Emanuel thinks that sinking this bed tax is a good way to help Roy Barnes and other Democrats in Georgia?

Also, the hospitals seem to be anticipating higher Medicaid reimbursements in exchange for their support of this bed tax. So, if the state gives the hospitals higher Medicaid reimbursements to offset the cost of this bed tax, how does the state balance the budget with this tax increase? 1-1= o, right?

Further, since the state doesn’t know how many Medicaid-covered services will be provided in a given year, isn’t it possible that the resulting outlays from Medicaid rate increase could far exceed the revenue from the bed tax?

fishtail April 5, 2010 at 3:07 pm

It all sounds like “funny money” to me. And a good example of terrible marketing by calling this plan a “hospital bed tax”when it sounds more like an accounting technique….throw in the fact that Republican legislators are being arm-twisted into voting for a perceived tax increase in a difficult election year. What a mess!! This issue will be pounded into the public’s brain come November election time.

Henry Waxman April 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm

I would really like to know who is behind this idea. It smells like something cooked up by a consulting firm (not that there is anything wrong with that) or law firm working for the Georgia Hospital Association or the Governor’s office. Despite what was probably a hefty bill by the firm, this proposal is really too clever by half.

Jim Bob April 5, 2010 at 7:23 pm

It was probably the exec that gets paid $900K by his hospital to tell everyone how bad off they really are despite the fact that they continue to build….

Jim Bob April 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm

More like a scheme than a tax. Dare I say “money laundering” scheme…..

Romegaguy April 5, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Maybe Judson Hill will grow a pair and vote this time

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