The governor invited Howe to have lunch with him on Thursday. Howe had asked if the governor might have a minute to talk with him before or after he signed one of his bills. To his surprise, the governor responded by extending the lunch offer.
Howe said he expects that a lot of the discussion will center on the budget impasse. The governor wants to raise $1.8 billion in taxes on the state's top 2 percent of income earners. The GOP budget does not include tax increases and relies instead on spending cuts. Howe has made clear he is not a fan of raising taxes or expanding gambling to help solve the state's project $5 billion budget shortfall. But he did say he is open to the idea of revamping the state's tax system by trying to move away from relying so heavily on property and income taxes and putting more attention on consumer-based taxes like the sales tax. He said it would make sense to keep exempting clothes, prescriptions and food from the sales tax, but perhaps that tax should be raised while others are reduced. He also expects there may be discussion about the constitutional amendment that would prohibit same-sex marriage.