During this week’s special session, the Governor introduced HB 115, the latest version of the budget bill. Way back in February, the governor introduced his original budget plan, which called for $450 million in new revenue. During the regular session, the legislature failed to agree on any revenue measures, and at the end of the session passed a budget that was balanced with a $90 million withdrawal from the Rainy Day Fund and major cuts to higher education and Medicaid. That budget was vetoed by the governor. Since then, the Governor, Senate, and House have entered into a stand-off over personal income tax cuts and sales tax increases, with little attention to the actual budget.
Now with HB 115, we can see what the governor’s plan is once there is some revenue agreement with the legislature. Total General Revenue spending in HB 115 totals $4.35 billion, which is $155.7 million below the governor’s original proposal. The latest revenue projections show available General Revenue funds for FY 2018 to be $4.09 billion, which means that the legislature would need to raise about $260 million in new revenue for this budget proposal to be balanced. Current revenue proposals fall far short of that mark, and create bigger budget problems in the future.
Here are a list of major changes in HB 115 from the Governor’s original proposal:
Few changes were made to the Lottery Funds from the Governor’s original proposal. HB 115 restores Lottery funding for Division of Culture and History, including funding for fairs and festivals, at a cost of $4.1 million. That cost is offset by a $4.1 cut in lottery funding for the Bureau of Senior Services. The lottery cut to Senior Services is itself replaced by a $4.1 million increase in General Revenue funding.
There was only one change from the governor’s proposal in the Excess Lottery Fund. Excess Lottery funding for Medicaid was increased by $5.4 million above the governor’s proposal, offsetting some of the General Revenue cuts.