The Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) instructions for the 2022-23 biennial budget are available on the Governor's and Legislative Budget Board’s websites. No additional reductions in funding, beyond the 5% reduction plans required by state leaders in May 2020, are required.
Many of the 5% reductions target county funding in the state budget, in areas such as indigent defense and grants to local law enforcement and rural volunteer fire departments. Additonally, the proposed 5% reductions could or may be altered further either prior to or during the next legislative session.
Agencies, higher education institutions and the judiciary must submit their LARs with baseline funding requests equal to their adjusted 2020-21 biennial appropriations out of General Revenue and General Revenue-Dedicated funds. The baseline funding limits incorporate the 5% cuts certain agencies submitted in June 2020, but no additional reductions.
Any request above baseline funding levels, including funding to restore targeted reductions in programs, must be submitted as an exceptional item. The policy letter from state leaders is dated Aug. 18.
Exemptions to the baseline request limit include amounts necessary to:
- Fund the Foundation School Program under current law.
- Satisfy debt service requirements for bond authorizations.
- Fund the impact of payroll growth for state pension systems and employee group benefits at 2021 levels, though group benefit modifications may be considered.
- Maintain current services and eligibility in Medicaid programs, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, foster care programs, the adoption subsidies programs and the permanency care assistance program (baseline requests for these programs should include amounts sufficient for projected caseload growth).
- Maintain funding for programs serving individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
- Maintain funding for Child Protective Services.
- Maintain funding for the Department of Public Safety.
Unlike the policy letter exemptions for previous state budget cycles, funding for behavioral health (mental health and substance abuse) programs receive no exemption — counties rely on state grants to supplement funding for local mental health and behavioral health authorities, among other mental health programs.
Here is the schedule for agency budget submissions. The deadlines are much later than usual, with the first LARs due on Sept. 11. The delay will push back the dates for agency budget hearings, at which county officials may want to testify, by whatever means available. TAC staff will review the LARs for proposed changes that affect counties and identify opportunities for county officials to influence the state budget process.
For more information on this article, contact Zelma Smith.