By Paul Emerson
TAC State Financial Analyst
Earlier this week, the House and Senate released their versions of the General Appropriations Act (GAA), also known as the state budget. Both introduced bills (HB 1 and SB 1) are similar in terms of how much money to spend — HB 1 ($187.7 billion) and SB 1 ($186.8 billion) — in the upcoming biennium (2014-15). The figures represent less than a 2 percent (or $3.1 billion) decrease from the 2012-13 biennial level. The introduced amounts reflect appropriation levels during 2010-11, which totaled $182.1 billion.
In terms of general revenue, the House proposes to use $89.1 billion, while the Senate will start with $88.9 billion. General revenue from both bills are somewhat lower than what has been advocated by budget experts in the newspapers lately — an additional $6 to $7 billion (or $96 billion) is needed to maintain state agencies’ current level of services.
Neither bill includes funds from the Rainy Day Fund, which is projected to reach $11.8 billion at the end of fiscal year 2015.
Below are a few highlighted budget items impacting counties:
- The House and Senate equally funded the Lateral Road Fund at $14.8 million for the biennium;
- The House and Senate equally funded the Gross Weight/Axle Fee at $15 million for the biennium;
- The House and Senate equally funded the Mixed Beverage Tax Reimbursements at $307.3 million for the biennium, which is slightly higher than the current biennium (2012-13); and
- The Senate restored $12 million in funding for the biennium to the Local Continuing Education Grants for law enforcement.
Within the next several days, the TAC County Information Program (CIP) plans to release a detailed comparison report between the two chambers showing how county programs fared in the introduced budgets. Visit the Legislative Budget Board’s website to review either budget.
For more information, contact , TAC state financial analyst, at (800) 456-5974.