Piecing together bits of information and whispers in the capitol hallways gives one the impression there could be a deal to be had to end the state budget stalemate.

Republicans have held fast on any tax increase proposals. But, the feeling is short of closing down some government functions the budget gap will not be closed without some tax increases.

Democrats have denied the need for spending controls. But, it is understood that reforms must be put in place to prevent the repetitive rollercoaster ride that the budget has become over the last decade.

A number of tax increase ideas have been floated from the legislators and the governor. Taxing oil, alcohol, cigarettes, and top earners is asking a portion of the taxpayers to take care of the problem that afflicts us all. If taxes are on the table, its reasonable to expect they should be broad based. If reducing the budget deficit is supposed to be painful for all of us, then everyone will be asked to sacrifice.

Spending beyond our means has caused the recent budget crisis. If that is not acknowledged and if no attempt is made to respond to the spending situation there will be no budget deal.

That means a serious spending limit will be part of the package. True, the voters will have the final say. That may mean the tax increases and spending limits may both be placed on a special election ballot. If the taxes are approved by the legislature ahead of a vote by the people on the spending limit, there may have to be a sunset provision in the tax measure, which kicks in if the spending limit does not pass. Such a provision would insure that supporters of tax increases who oppose spending limits would not try to defeat the limit measure at the polls.

The final piece of the puzzle will be taking measures to improve the business climate, realizing the surest way to fix budget deficiencies in the long run is through economic growth.

I expect the people would see this as an acceptable deal. But until a special election is called, they don’t have a vote. Let’s see what the lawmakers do.