What a tax deal might look like

It's early: The governor's Business License Fee tax plan just passed the state Senate on Tuesday, everyone knows it won't come out intact from the Assembly but there are still 40 days left in the session.

But it's never too early for pundits to pontificate and speculate. So here's what the contours of a tax deal might look like, as one knowledgeable outside observer put it:

We can still have “broad based tax” using a reformed MBT combined with a reformed LET and a tiered but flat BLF with a reasonable set of ranges (think the gaming tax), with an annual inflation adjustment if desired. All industries treated the same.

To translate: Reduce the 30 categories in the BLF, change the Modified Business Tax in the Armstrong-Anderson Assembly tax bill that is based on MBT and close loopholes in the Live Entertainment Tax, which is what Assembly Minority Leader Marilyn Kirkpatrick wants to do. So: Bipartisan, elements of both major tax plans. Possible.

The real issue is still the math. Michele Fiore and her Assembly Pinheads Committee take five Republicans out of the taxing mix. That leaves 20. Of those, probably five more will never say yes.

So there are a few swing votes -- I'd guess Glenn Trowbridge, Chris Edwards, PK O'Neill and Erv Nelson may be the keys. But predicting the GOP matrix on any given measure is a fool's errand.

The margin for error is small, but I still think 17 plus 11 is possible -- Democrats plus Republicans -- and the more the APC does to marginalize/isolate itself, the better chances of both a fully funded budget and broadened tax base.