Week No. 9 of 56th Legislature
Total Senate Bills and SJRs introduced in 2017: 877
Total reported from committees: 412
Total reported out of the Senate: 347
Despite any criticism you may hear, the Senate is hard at work on the FY18 budget
o The budget process is practically year round in the Senate
o The Senate Republicans caucus on Wednesday to look at the budget in-depth
o The Senate appropriators meets regularly and are reviewing agency budgets, spending and programs
It’s typical for critics of the Legislature to complain that the budget isn’t coming along fast-enough
The budget process this session is advancing on pace, just like it has in recent years
We will have a budget by the May deadline
Cuts are likely considering the $875 million shortfall we’re facing
It will take a combination of actions to help us solve this problem
o We can’t cut our way out of this scenario, nor can we tax our way out of this scenario
Before we go the route of implementing new revenue streams, we must first look at:
o Tax Credit reform: eliminating credits that aren’t creating jobs and are siphoning money away from core services.
o Apportionment reform: bringing more “off-the-top” money into the General Revenue Fund so it’s available for the Legislature to appropriate to fund core priorities
o Agency efficiencies: ensuring agencies are operating as efficiently as possible, this is in “good” and “bad” budget times
Senate Republicans are working hard on the budget, and we’re working to minimize the effect of likely budget cuts on core services such as education, public safety, health care and transportation.
TEACHER PAY RAISES
Senate Republicans are hopeful that we can implement a framework for a teacher pay raise by the end of this session
It will be extremely difficult to fund the pay raise this year, considering the huge budget deficit that must be addressed first
Before spending any new revenues, Senate Republicans believe it to be most prudent to address the budget deficit
Senate Republicans want to get more money into the classroom to help support students and teachers and we’re looking at all options at our disposal to do so.