Sunday, September 23, 2007

Senate offers real solutions tonight. House shoots it down

Tonight the Senate passed an omnibus bill (put every budget in one bill rather than 17). The bill leaves about $569 million in shortfalls, vs. $1.75 that Governor preferred. It gets us much closer to balance than where we have been.

The House used a procedural move to keep the bill from being considered for final passage. Rather than "gavel" the bill from second to third reading, which is the usual process, the Speaker called for a "record roll call" to move the bill to third reading. The Dems all voted "no". As a result, the bill stays on second reading and cannot be voted on for final passage.

They are pretty stubborn. They want the whole enchilada and are willing to soak you for the money to pay for it. Here are some of the things eliminated to get us closer to a balanced budget:
Agriculture: Cut executive division by $1.7 million.
Attorney General: Cut 19% of departmental workforce.
Civil Rights: Cut 18% of workforce.
Civil Service: Cut 16% of workforce.
Community Health: Eliminate medicaid for 19 and 20-yr-olds.
Corrections: $6.9 million savings in prison food services, $8.8 million in staffing efficiencies
DEQ: Eliminate 143 employee positions.
Higher Ed: elimination of the 2.5% increase for next year, but does repay the delayed payment.
History, Arts, Libraries: $6.2 million in state aid to libraries.
Human Services: $207.5 million savings including reduction of 268 employees.
Legislature: $7.4 million cut.
Secretary of State: cut 80 employees.
Treasury: cut 137 employees.
There is much more, but this is just a sampling.

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