Budget Watch - House and Senate Proposed Budgets
The House and Senate released their respective budgets for FY2015-16 following the third week of the legislative session and voted them out of the appropriations committees this week. They will now go to the floor in the two chambers. The House has also released its proposed tax cut package of $690.1 million, the centerpiece being a 3.6 percentage point reduction in the Communications Services Tax on wireless phone, cable and satellite television, and non-residential landline services. The Senate has said it will wait until some health care funding issues have been resolved before deciding on its tax package (see Human Services section on page 3). Lawmakers got some good news last week when the latest revenue estimates provided an additional $143.0 million in general revenue for the new budget (see General Revenue Estimating Conference on page 9 for more information).
The House budget totals $76.154 billion and the Senate budget comes in at $80.425 billion, which would be the largest budget in history. The House proposal is $826 million (1.1 percent) less than the Governor’s recommended budget and $919 million (1.2 percent) less than current year spending. The Senate budget would be a 4.3 percent increase over current year spending. The higher Senate budget is due to a proposed increase in federal dollars being drawn down (see Human Services section on the next page). In fact, the Senate spends $229 million in general revenue less than the House.