After dicking around for more than five months, and waiting until eight hours before the first refund checks would have been mailed out, the state senate finally got around to approving a compromise bill that fixes the estate tax. ESB 2075 passed by a 30-19 margin, shortly before midnight.
Now was that so hard?
The voter approved estate tax had been partially invalidated by the courts due to a technical glitch, leaving estates of wealthy couples exempt from a tax that estates of single and divorced individuals still had to pay. Had the senate failed to act tonight, the Department of Revenue would have started mailing out $95 million worth of refund checks first thing in the morning. The fix is worth $159 million to the Education Legacy Trust Account through 2015.
On the one hand, it is incredibly frustrating that it took so much time and effort to make such a simple and obvious fix. On the other hand, I suppose it is encouraging that when faced with a catastrophic deadline, senate Republicans are ultimately willing to give an inch. Perhaps that bodes well for the prospect of passing a budget in time to avoid a government shutdown.