On the Senate floor, accusations that the end game is to leave us with gambling as the only viable option out of the budget crisis.
In the House, the proposed tax increase on cigarettes failed to a very close vote in committee resulting in a proposed reduction of $150M to the Medicaid budget.
You can read a good “Play-by-Play” of the day here.
I’ll just share that my outlook for a successful Special Session is decidedly cloudier after today.
A bill introduced in the General Fund Committee today (SB30) proposed to move $225M in use taxes from the Education budget to the General Fund budget – hence the title of today's blog - Go with the devil you know, or the devil you don’t know?
The devil I know is the hole in the General Fund budget – the exact size of the hole is debatable – down to approximately $275M ~ $300M from a claimed $700M when this all started back in January.
The devil I don’t know? If we move funds from the Education budget to plug the General Fund we are creating a hole – size again is debatable – in the Education budget.
I subscribe to the thought that while moving the funds now would solve our current problem, it creates a potentially huge problem in the future; possibly resulting in pro-ration. In reality we are shifting the “we must raise revenue” (aka, taxes) mantra to another day. I cannot support this option without a defined backfill, one that does not rely on projected funds, but rather dedicated actual funds that exist today to fill the hole we create.
Semper Fi – Bill