The Senate budget-writing committee on Thursday held a public hearing on the latest GOP budget plan, which includes $126 million in new revenue from closing certain tax breaks.
Senate Republicans also introduced a one-month budget proposal intended to avoid a government shutdown if a budget is not in place by June 30. Lead Republican budget writer Sen. Andy Hill said it is “strictly an emergency” budget that “keeps the lights on and parks open for one month.”
Much of the focus of the hearing was on the updated two-year, $38.2 billion operating budget proposal. Senate Bill 6052 increases spending from the previous Senate budget proposal by $367 million — largely to provide a 3.8 percent raise to K-12 school employees.
Hill said the budget also moves closer to the House position by increasing spending in early learning and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families grants.
“The debate over taxes is over,” Hill said. “The debate over funding education is over and the debate over the social safety net is over.”
The last remaining sticking point between the two budgets is college tuition, Hill said. The Senate is proposing a 25 percent tuition cut at the state’s colleges and universities, while House Democrats are proposing a tuition freeze.
The House held a hearing on the latest Democratic budget proposal on Monday, including a plan to raise $356 million by closing several tax breaks.
The Senate plan would raise about a third of that by closing two tax breaks, including an exemption for software manufacturers and a preferential tax rate for royalty income. Senate Bill 6138 also makes changes to certain tax collections.
“We believe these are solid economic policy and will have a positive effect on the overall budget,” Hill said.
The committee adjourned without voting on the proposals. The House and Senate are meeting again Friday, the 29th day of the second special session.
Watch the hearing at this link.