BRIEF: On state budget, breathe Chicken Little, breathe

Staff reports  |  There seems to be an alarmist tone in the coverage in traditional media about the state’s $8 billion annual budget on how use state tax dollars.

It goes like this:  The House and Senate are out of their regular session earlier than usual.  There’s not a ratified budget yet, even though a conference committee is meeting.  The House cancelled its meeting this week and won’t be back until June 6.  On top of that, the Senate passed a stopgap measure to use the current budget next year if the General Assembly doesn’t get a budget by July 1.

The sky is falling.  The sky is falling.

But let’s put all of this in real context.  It’s the end of May.  Usually in the legislative cycle, we don’t have a budget by this time because the regular session isn’t over.  In the past, the session ended around the first week of June.  This year, it closed three weeks early for the first time in recent memory.

In the past, lawmakers often recessed in June from the regular session and returned a couple of weeks later to pass a budget compromise.  Based on that timetable, it might be three weeks from now before conferees come to an agreement.

“We’ll get a budget,” one House conferee told us recently.

When that happens, House and Senate members will return to Columbia.  They’ll get a per diem payment for service.  They’ll vote to pass a budget.  And, if they need to, they’ll return to deal with any vetoes.

Breathe, Chicken Little.  Breathe.

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One Comment

  1. Creating a yearly budget is only going to get worse as the increased pension costs are passed on to the taxpayers. Money will be tighter from here on out.

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