Earlier this week, the House released a new $33.7 billion spending proposal…a sign that they are finally taking budget negotiations seriously. The proposal released this week represents an improvement over the original House budget but while the lower level of spending is welcome, it’s unconscionable that more than 75 percent of the reductions would come from education. Education should get our first dollars, not our last dime.
In all, the House budget rewrite would put $217 million less towards education than the bipartisan plan the Senate approved during the regular session. Much of the education spending in the new House proposal is based on higher taxes, fund shifts from other accounts or pushing appropriations into the next budget cycle.
It’s encouraging that the House majority has retreated from its original attempt to raise taxes on families and employers by some $1.3 billion; however, the new tax increases it wants are sure to raise eyebrows.
It remains to be seen whether there is sufficient support in the House for these taxes. Going forward, the Legislature has two options: continue to move towards the Senate approach of living within the state’s means and prioritizing education, or follow the House’s path of higher taxes and “bucks for bureaucrats” that expands general government.