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Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - 1:31pm

Senate Democrats Say No To Hospital Fee

The 1.45 % hospital tax passed by the house last week is stalled in the Senate.

Senate Democrats say they will not support the the fee Governor Perdue is pushing in order to balance the ailing state budget.

Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown (D- Macon) accuses Republicans of causing the budget shortfall by giving too many tax breaks to special interests.

"And now it comes down to a decision to place a sick tax on patients and hospitals in Georgia," Brown says. "And we’re opposed to that."

And so are enough Senate Republicans that the bill may fail. 19 Senators who signed a No Tax Pledge have to run for re-election this year.

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) says it’s not clear if the fee can be viewed as a tax.

"Some people have said it is, some people have said it’s not. Each person will have to make up their mind on that," he says.

For his part Rogers says it’s more of an accounting change, because the hospital fee would be used to draw federal funds for Medicaid, which in turn would go to the hospitals.