Majority Senate Democrats have unveiled a proposed budget that deals with a billion-dollar budget gap without cutting K-12 or higher education, or relying on a voter-approved sales tax hike.
Their plan involves deferring a school support payment into the next biennium, saving $330 million; cutting spending by $356 million; adopting $31 million in new revenue; shifting $71 million in solid waste tax revenue to the General Fund from the construction budget; and capturing about $150 million in agency savings and reserves.
The proposal leaves the two-year state budget at $30.8 million, with a projected reserves of $369 million. The House plan cuts higher education $65 million and has modest K-12 cuts. It shifted more education payments into the next biennium, pushing forward over $400 million in costs for the next budget cycle.
The plan is without public support from minority Republicans, who helped draft and pass the last two budgets. Republicans in both chambers have decried the education shift as a “gimmick” that kicks the problem forward, and want both larger cuts and a larger reserve.
After both houses pass their budget proposals, negotiators will hammer out the differences.
Adjournment deadline for the regular 60-day session is Thursday of next week, March 8.