Legislature Considers State Budget Reductions
As the legislative session progresses, the potential reductions in the state budget are the subject of considerable debate and action. The House of Representatives has approved the expenditure of approximately $3 billion from the State Rainy Day Fund to complete the current fiscal year. This leaves a balance of approximately $6.3 billion in the Rainy Day Fund.
The House of Representatives has approved a proposed budget for the next biennium that reduces current programs by approximately $23 billion. This budget does not use new revenues or the Rainy Day Fund. The Senate proposed a budget that reduces current programs by approximately $17 billion, although the source of the needed additional $6 billion in revenue is unclear. Potential sources include the Rainy Day Fund, fees, and accounting procedures, such as delaying state payments for two months.
It is obvious that both proposed budgets involve serious reductions in state spending. The differences are primarily in funding for education, Medicaid, and mental health programs. If the differences are not resolved by a conference committee, a special session in the summer will be necessary. Regardless, counties should expect reductions in state funding for criminal justice, probation, mental health, transportation, emergency response, indigent health care, disaster assistance, and other programs.
For more information, please call me at 1-800-733-0699.