Several States Wrap Up Their Budgets
By John Gramlich, Staff Writer
Lawmakers in Alaska have been in special session since the end of last month, but a deal over the state's stalled operating budget now appears to be at hand, the Juneau Empire reports . A House-Senate conference committee reached a compromise over the spending plan on Thursday (May 5), and the full chambers are expected to vote on it within days. A final deal would end an unusually divisive special session in a state that is flush with money and entirely controlled by Republicans.
Elsewhere, Connecticut and Missouri wrapped up their budgets in recent days, while two other states, Florida and Vermont, hope to do so by the end of this week.
The most closely watched of the recent budget talks have been in Connecticut, where Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy on Wednesday signed a budget that includes the largest tax increase in state history, The New York Times reports . The plan barely squeaked through the Democratic Senate before winning approval by a more comfortable margin in the Democratic House, but even with its broad tax increases, it does not erase Connecticut's budget shortfall. That will depend on whether Malloy can wring an additional $1 billion in wage and benefit concessions from public worker unions, as The Times notes.
In Missouri, lawmakers on Thursday signed off on a budget deal that is notable because it maintains K-12 education funding, even while it makes cuts to other program areas. "While other states around this country are being forced by the economic situation to cut the direct funding to their public schools," the House budget chairman boasts to The Kansas City Star , "we have been able to keep ours level."
Florida and Vermont, meanwhile, both were on track to have their budgets finished by Saturday at the latest. Most states' new fiscal years begin on July 1.