State government is in a much better position this year than it was last year, and now we have the numbers that show it.
The state Board of Equalization met Wednesday to certify the exact amount of money the legislature will have to work with for the 2020 budget.
Even though it’s more than a half billion dollars more than the lawmakers had to work with last year, the governor wants to keep spending for most agencies the same.
“As the executive of the executive branch, I am responsible for running these state agencies. So before we put any more money and increase ongoing expenses, I want to make sure we have the right accountability,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said.
Because of an improving economy and tax changes the legislature put in place last year, the state has $8.2 billion to spend. That’s $574 million more than last year.
The governor wants to put $200 million into savings for an inevitable downturn in the economy; we have $237 million in obligations we have to pay, like medical reimbursements; and the governor wants to put $60 million more into teacher pay.
“It’s a $1,200 per teacher increase, and that’s already moving through the House well and I’m looking forward to continuing to promote that. We’ve gotta let our teaching profession know that they’re valued,” Gov. Stitt said.
That leaves the Legislature with $77 million to fight over. Agencies have already asked for a combined $3 billion more.