With just 10 days left in the legislative session, we’re down to the nitty gritty: lawmakers are trying to figure out how to sew up the state budget. And earlier this week, the Revenue Estimating Committee rebuffed the Jindal administration’s wish to include $54 million in revenue that could come with changes to how the state Dept. of Revenue does its tax collecting, according to a group of consultants on the hunt for savings in the state budget.
As the sixth week of the twelve week session begins, the budget takes center stage on Monday and Tuesday.
“Our public comment days are April the 14th and April the 15th,” explains House Appropriations chairman Jim Fannin. And he says they will work into the evening both days, to ensure everyone can be heard.
The House Appropriations Committee began hearings on the budget proposals for each of the state’s departments Monday. Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain is asking for a bit more money this next year, and Representative Henry Burns (R-Haughton) quizzed him about the reasons.
On the first real business day of the new session Tuesday, the House Appropriations jumped right in with heavy lifting, as they began combing through the governor’s 329-page budget proposal. Lawmakers didn’t hesitate to ask for detailed explanations about the line items.
Despite being under a “state of emergency” due to Friday’s wintry weather, members of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee braved rain, sleet and snow to get their first look at Governor Bobby Jindal’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2015.