Lawmakers think twice about cultural tax

    Senate Republican leaders warned House Democrats that changing components of the tentative budget agreement would send negotiations “back to square one.”

    Senate Republican leaders warned House Democrats that changing components of the tentative budget agreement would send negotiations “back to square one.” But Thursday afternoon, House leaders did just that by amending a tax bill the full House will vote on today.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091001sdamendment.mp3]

    During two long days of caucus meetings, rank-and-file Democrats told leaders they weren’t happy about the budget plan’s proposed taxes on cultural events and small games of chance, as well as the absence of levies on smokeless tobacco and Marcellus Shale drilling.

    In a Rules Committee meeting, Majority Leader Todd Eachus introduced an amendment to the House tax bill addressing those concerns.

    Speaking earlier in the day, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi warned that sort of move would void the agreement lawmakers reached two weeks ago.

    Pileggi: For them to just take what is easy for them and not to lift the parts that are uncomfortable or unpleasant for them, and to expect us to do both-the unpleasant and the pleasant, the ones that we didn’t want and the ones that we did support-is not adherence to an agreement.

    Eachus defended the amendment, saying a bill taxing small games of chance and cultural events wouldn’t be able to pass the House.

    He says Democrats wouldn’t have supported a budget bill without a Shale tax, either.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.