March 17, 2023
A State Budget, Senate Bill (SB) 155 was debated on the floor and it passed to advance to final action after many amendments and attempts at amendments. Final action is usually taken the day after or the day of debate. However, there are several senators absent for various reasons so the vote has been delayed.
The legislature is required by the State Constitution to appropriate funds – providing a budget for the state. The process starts with the departments and agencies providing their budgets to the Governor, then the Governor provides her recommendations to the legislature. This is what the legislature uses as a start. It is almost always an increase from the previous year. For the past three years, the Governor has cut items she knows need to be funded and increased her pet projects. It resulted in massive spending increases because the final budget would include both and not decrease or cut the Governor’s items. Well, not this year. The Senate President cut the Governor’s projects and decreased the out-of-control spending. It is refreshing because it gives some of the tax cuts discussed in prior weeks a chance of being passed into law.
Some amendments that passed during debate include:
- a modest cut to agencies NOT INCLUDING health, safety, or K-12 education by just 3.25% to save $97 million – decreasing the $9.4 billion budget to $9.3 billion. Every savings helps.
- would require the citizenship of state employees and contractors to be verified with the database known as e-verify.
- would require departments and agencies to provide performance based budgets or their budget would be cut by 5%. Performance based budget became law over 6 years ago and has still not been implemented by some agencies.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve as your 12th District State Senator.