Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Senate Passes Budget Bills, Now Onto the House

Could the budget impasse be nearing its end? We have thought that before during this now 98-day budget stalemate, but maybe today will be different.

Earlier today the Senate passed Senate Bill 1085, a $27.84 billion budget plan, with a vote of 43 to 6. An accompanying bill that provides the revenue part of the plan also passed the Senate, with a vote of 35 to 14.

Senators say that this latest plan keeps spending and major taxes down, while it makes needed investments in public education.

A line by line comparison of the budget shows that:
  • Adult and Family Literacy will receive funding of $17,687,000 (more than in SB 850, but less than in the Governor’s original budget)
  • Children’s Health Insurance will receive $97,112,000 in funding (more than in SB 850 or the Governor’s budget)
  • New Choices, New Options will receive $2,000,000 in funding (after being zeroed out in SB 850)
  • Industry Partnerships will receive $2,000,000 in funding (after being zeroed out in SB 850, but had been expected to receive over 3 million under the three-caucus budget)
  • Child Care Assistance will receive $198,147,000 in funding (the same as under SB 850, and less than the Governor’s original budget)
This latest revenue bill:
  • raises the cigarette taxes,
  • delays the phase-out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax,
  • legalizes table games at slot-machine casinos,
  • expands gas drilling on state-owned land,
  • levies a gross receipts tax on managed care organizations (which would trigger the release of hundred of millions of dollars in federal assistance),
  • makes major withdrawals from the Rainy Day Fund, and
  • withdraw funding from the surplus of the MCARE fund.

The bills now go to the House where members have expressed support for it.

We will continue to update you on the budget throughout the day, as well as more line-by-line comparisons when we are able.

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