State Capitol: No New Legislation Proposed To Help Budget Crisis

Thursday, April 7th 2016, 7:13 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

State lawmakers have wrapped up another week at the state capitol with no new legislation proposed to fill the budget hole. 

“I hear people talking all the time about y’all aren’t doing anything on the budget but we are,” said Senator Brian Bingman (R) President Pro Tempore.

Brian Bingman said, just because the legislature isn’t taking up bills to bridge the budget gap, that doesn’t mean work isn’t being done behind closed doors. He said several bills that passed this week like legislation to reduce incarceration levels, will put a dent in the shortfall. 

“Most important is the savings of not having to incarcerate so many people and use that on the front end,” said Bingman.

Republican leaders say, the major budget bills are still in the works. 

“Typically you see those bills the end of May,” said House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R),”My hope is you see them in the early part of may this session rather than the later part of May. But I think we are well ahead of schedule from where we typically would be in a legislative session.”

Democrats say even though dozens of bills passed this week, “None of those bills do anything to address the $1.3 billion shortfall that the state has.”

Representative Scott Imnan (D) House Minority leader said, “We’ve hear they may offer up to $400 million worth of additional debt, taking out more bonds, trying to borrow their way out of debt. We’ve heard they may offer up taxes on haircuts and doctors’ visits. All of these things have been kicked around for weeks but not at one point have they offered up any legislation to say let’s get serious about this.”