Defend Your Wallet
On Thursday (March 31) the first round of the state budget battle in the House begins with: HB 4: state budget supplemental bill dealing with the current (fy ’11) budget shortfall. Several sound and necessary cost-cutting amendments will be debated. We also expect a flood of spending increase amendments and “amendments to amendments” on the floor.
On Thursday,HB 275: appropriating money from the Rainy Day Fund to cover the current budget shortfall comes up. Note: This bill would approve spending up to $3.2 billion from the RDF/ESF for current fiscal year obligations, leaving approximately $6.2 billion remaining to cover the projected need of more than $14 billion in new funding to cover Medicaid increases even without ObamaCare, which – if not neutered – will add more!
Friday (April 1): budget debate begins on HB 1: General Appropriations Bill for the 2012-2013 state budget. Debate expected through the weekend.
Once the budget bills get through the House, they will go to the Senate where the same process will take place. Once there is agreement on the separate budget bills in the Senate, the result will go to Conference Committee for reconciliation with the House. This will be a long, contentious battle that may not end with the regular session. If an agreement is not reached, a special session will be necessary.
Expect tax & spenders in both parties to make every effort to beat down spending cuts by use of parliamentary maneuvers and by proposing amendments to amendments. The amendment process will be long, stressful, heated, and intense.
Comments from legislators indicate high volume of calls demanding more spending, regardless of where the money is found. We must maintain our effort to counter and overcome the opponents of fiscal responsibility. The cost of our failure will be higher taxes, higher and more fees, and further hobbling of our state’s economy.