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Budget Watch - Proposed House and Senate Budgets for FY2016-17 are $1 Billion Apart

The House and Senate passed their respective state budgets for FY2016-17 with four weeks remaining in the 2016 Session. They will now go into the budget conference process to negotiate the differences. Conference meetings could start as early as this week (the week of February 22). First, the House Speaker and Senate President must agree on allocations, the amount of money available for each policy area in the budget (education, human services, criminal justice, general government, etc.). These negotiations take place in private.

The Senate proposes to spend nearly $1 billion ($988 million) more than the House, due in part to its plan to propose far less in tax reductions than the House’s $1 billion tax cut package. The Senate has not settled on its tax cut proposal.

The House budget totals $79.981 billion and the Senate budget comes in at $80.969 billion, which would be the largest budget in history. The House proposal is $1.584 billion (2.0 percent) more than current year spending and $728 million (1.0%) more than the Governor recommended. The Senate budget would be a 3.3 percent increase over current year spending. The House is proposing a budget increase for 20 state agencies, and a decrease for 12 agencies. Under the Senate plan, 20 agencies would receive an increase.

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