The House spent nearly two months considering its changes to the Governor's proposed budget bills and delivered them to the Senate on the 50th legislative day (in a 60-day session). Today the Senate passed an amended version of the House's proposed Executive branch budget. Unlike the House budget, the Senate version uses no one-time monies for recurring expenses. Unlike the House budget, the Senate version removes coal severance funded pork projects that are not self-sustaining economic development drivers, something everyone agrees coal producing counties need desperately.
Make no mistake, the cuts proposed in the budget are challenging. They present a difficult path forward but one we must follow now unless we want to make even more drastic and devastating cuts down the road. As our Appropriations & Revenue Committee Chairman has said, we are investing in tomorrow by facing head-on the problems of today. Have a look at the Senate budget draft here:
For those curious in the process, here are the next steps: The House will not "concur" with the Senate changes to the budget, and a "conference committee" will be formed, made up of members of both chambers and both parties to meet between now and next Wednesday to hammer out a compromise if possible on each budget bill (Executive branch, Judicial, Legislative, Transportation). We hope to have a bill to pass both chambers by the time we adjourn next week, immediately before the Governor's 10 day veto period begins.
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