Senate Leaders Say Agreement Reached On State Budget Deficit

Monday, November 13th 2017, 5:12 pm

Eight weeks into special session, it looks like the legislature has an agreement on filling the budget hole. The plan does not include raises for teachers and state workers, but is does fill the $215 million budget gap without cuts to services like outpatient mental health and substance abuse services.

The plan calls for:

  • Dipping into revolving funds - those are funds agencies regularly collect throughout the year, to the tune of $60 million.
  • Raising the taxes on older, so called "Legacy" oil wells. That will raise $48 million.
  • $60 million in cuts to 49 state agencies. Each will see their budgets cut by about 2.5 percent.
  • And about $30 million in cuts to the county roads and bridges fund. That means some road and bridge projects will be put on hold.   

“I told them the priority now is going to be public education and rural health. And I think that’s a win for everybody,” said Senator Kim David (R) Senate Appropriations Chair.

Senate leaders say the House and Governor are on board with the plan.

Margaret Payne and several other people who live at The Village at Oakwood, an assisted living facility for low income seniors, came to the capitol to urge lawmakers to reach a deal. She was afraid she would be left homeless without one. She’s done with the political games.

“I think that there should be no Republicans. I think there should be no Democrats,” Payne said. “I think they ought to be people caring about people.”

Because there are no tax increases, the bill would only require a simple majority vote; not the super majority vote that killed the last deal. The House and Senate are expected to take up the plan over the next few days, then send it off to the governor Friday.