The House is ahead of the Senate in the budget process, having already approved its version of the two-year state budget (House Bill 1) and sent it to the Senate. Procedurally, the next step is for the House budget to be reviewed and voted on in the Senate Finance Committee before it is considered by the full Senate. Today members of the Senate Finance Committee discussed and voted out HB 1, but only after substituting it with the Senate’s version of the budget in its entirety, which is common practice.
Looking at the budget numbers alone for comparison is somewhat misleading and requires a deeper examination of the investments each chamber’s respective budget plan calls for in education. The Senate version, while increasing funds compared to the last biennium, still lags that of the House, and it includes money to replace funds lost from proposed tax cut legislation. The full Senate is expected to hear and debate the Senate budget soon, after which each chamber will appoint members to serve on a budget conference committee where differences are ideally ironed out. If an agreement cannot be reached by the end of the session, the legislature would be required to return for a special session.
Stay tuned for more updates as the budget adoption process continues.