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Budget could hinge on revised estimate

Last week, both chambers passed bills that staked out their respective budget positions as the Legislature enters the conference or negotiations process.

There are differences between the two chambers, but in reality they are not that far apart.

The Senate budget is $5.61 billion, or $58.5 million above what the Legislature passed in 2012. The House proposal is $5.59 billion.

The Senate proposal is expected to provide $36.1 million, or 1.6 percent more for kindergarten through 12th grade education than was passed by the 2012 Legislature. The House plan provides an additional $28 million.

Last week, efforts by members to provide additional funds for education and mental health were defeated. The Republican leadership said funds were not available for the increases.

But some members of the leadership said additional funds might be found before the end of the process if the state revenue estimate is increased for the upcoming fiscal year.

The governor and the 14-member Legislative Budget Committee, which includes the speaker and lieutenant governor, meet in the fall to establish a revenue estimate for the next fiscal year. The revenue estimate is key because it represents the amount of money available for the Legislature to appropriate in the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Daily Journal

Posted March 18, 2013 - 5:50 pm

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