Senate Committee Ditches House Plan for Budget

May 30, 2013

The Senate Wednesday dashed the House’s hopes of eliminating from the state budget what some lawmakers consider to be unstable funding.

The fiscal hawks in the legislature would, for example, frown on paying utilities with proceeds from a garage sale.

So the House spent the first half of the session occupied with removing from the budget money that is only available once, like money from the sale of property and court settlements.

And representatives arguably achieved that goal when they sent their proposal to the Senate without one-time funds.

But, the Senate committee that fields the budget reinstated about a third of the one-time funds the governor had proposed using for recurring expenses back when the session started.

Senate Finance Chairman Jack Donahue said the budget changed because circumstances changed. A State Supreme Court decision meant the state would have to come up with different financing for the state’s private school voucher program, and officials realized they have to add funding for hospitals that probably won’t meet the mid-year deadline to be privatized.

"We tried to use the structure that the House sent us and fashion a bill that worked," Donahue said. "We had to take care of the money in relation to the vouchers bills. We had to take care of the hospitals. We were able to do that."

Donahue said the full Senate will consider the budget on Saturday.