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April 19, 2000

Legislators suspend formal action on budget until May 1

State lawmakers have suspended formal action on a state budget and made plans to resume on May 1.

Lawmakers had been striving for a budget agreement before the start of Passover, and there were reports early Wednesday that a budget announcement was near. But none was made.

There were reports that lawmakers have agreed that the budget would include new tax cuts that, when fully phased in, would return $1.3 billion to taxpayers.

This tax-cut agreement was said to include several business-community priorities, including a phased-in repeal of the state's gross receipts tax on energy. The repeal would reportedly take effect immediately for manufacturers and be phased in for other customers over five years. A number of other business-tax changes are also expected to be part of the package, but there was no formal announcement on these details.

The tax-cut agreement also reportedly includes elimination of the marriage penalty tax, a college-tuition tax credit, and increases in the earned income tax credit and the child-care tax credit.

Legislative leaders announced the framework of a budget on April 4. Legislative conference committees began meeting the next day to hammer out final budget details.