With less than 10 days remaining in the legislative session, the conferees are close to finalizing the 2012-13 state budget. This past week, conferees resolved most of the differences between the two proposed budgets, except for matters relating to public and higher education, which is usually 40 percent, if not more, of the state budget.
The House and Senate versions vary on how much money to spend on education. The difference was estimated to be around $4 billion as of earlier this week, but as of Friday, May 20, that figure has been reduced considerably to less than a few hundred million dollars. The budget difference may be offset with the recent biennial revenue estimate update that was released from the Comptroller’s Office earlier this past week. Due to growth in the sales tax collections, an additional $1.2 billion will be added to the state coffers.
Impact on Counties from the Conference Committee Report on HB 1
An abbreviated four-page document shows how 50 or more state agency programs that impact counties fared during the conference committee on HB 1. In order to quickly identify the conferees’ decisions, a color coding system was employed under the columns “House Bill 1” and “Senate Bill 1.” Any items highlighted in green indicate the version of the budget adopted by the conferees. The highlighted items in blue indicate that no agreement between the conferees was needed — the figures were the same in both bill versions. And, finally, orange indicates that an item was not listed in the report. Out of the 52 items listed in the report, only one program (Fiscal Research and Studies within the Comptroller of Public Accounts office) was not identified in the conference committee report.
For more information on this article, contact Paul Emerson, TAC state financial analyst, at (800) 456-5974.