Legislative Update: The Budget Vote
Budget vote is coming up in the next couple hours, and I am heading to the House floor now for the debate and the vote.
Below the video update are the highlights.
Public Education: HB2 increases FY21 General Fund appropriations for public education of $237.5 million, or 7.4% over the FY20 operating budget, with another $117 million in total revenue for nonrecurring education initiatives (this means one time money) Total General Fund recurring (meaning every year thereafter) are $3.45 million. The bill provides teachers an average 5% salary increase along with 4% for the rest of public school employees, increases funding for new teacher induction and mentorship programming, professional development and evidence-based early literacy. Finally, HB2 includes almost $19 million for school districts with federally connected students, including Native American Students, and $19 million for development and purchase of culturally relevant instructional materials.
Early Childhood: Funding increases for the new Early Childhood Education and Care Department total almost $40 million from the general fund or almost 24%, largely for child care assistance and 3 and 4 year old private pre-kindergarten. This budget also increases public school prekindergarten almost 30% to over $53.5million.
Higher Education: HB2 makes appropriations to higher ed institutions and the department of Higher Ed of $890.2 million and another $27 million for compensation increases to average 3%. It also includes $5 million increase for dual credit programs, $5 million increase for need based student financial aid along with increases to instruction and general purposes and targets public service projects geared towards boosting graduates for occupations in demand, including school teachers and health care professionals.
Health and Human Services: HB2 appropriates HHS $1.2 billion, and almost 7% increase, for Medicaid medical inflation, increased use of services, targeted provider rate increases, and evidence-based housing and jail reentry behavioral health programming. The bill also appropriates to HHS $318 million and funds the DD waiver provider rate increases and additional services for removing people from the wait list and creating a new supports waiver. It also appropriates $13.4 million or 6.4% to CYFD, with significant increases for child protective services and children’s behavioral health services.
Corrections and Public Safety: The budget will appropriate $18.8 million or 5.8% with increases for the state taking over the private prison in Clayton. It also increases general fund appropriations for the Department of Public Safety by $10.4 million, or 7.3% to expand state police force, provide additional targeted compensation increases and appropriates non-recurring (one time only) funds for vehicle replacements.
Judiciary: HB2 also includes $191.2 million from the general fund for the courts, and increase of $7.3 million or 4%. The bill includes a total pay increase for judges of 5%, three percent in each court’s base budget and three percent across the board increases for all state employees and expands pretrial services. For the DAs offices, the bill increases funding by $3.3 million or 4.1% and includes 5% targeted pay increases for attorney positions. Funding for the Public Defender increases by $2.5 million, or 4.5% and includes increases for contract attorneys.
Natural Resources: Budget includes increases funding for the State Engineer by $1.8 million or 9.4%; Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department by $1.1 million, or 5%; Environment Department by $1.8 million or 14.6%; and Office of Natural Resource Trustee appropriation level is increased 68% to fully fund the Trustee position a month other changes.
Special Appropriations: This bill has a special appropriations of $225 million, including $52 million for information technology, $15 million for LEDA projects, $4 million for job training, $15 million for an economic development program in response to the closure of a power plant in Prewett, $20 million for the State Engineer for interstate compact compliance on the lower Rio Grande, $25 million in general fund and other state funds for hepatitis C treatment in prisons, $5.1 million for state vehicles and from the public education reform fund, including $35 million to aid schools transition to full implementation of K5 Plus and to pilot extended school year programs for secondary grades in rural areas and alternative programs serving large proportion of Native American students. HB2 sub provides for $430 million in fund transfers from the general fund to other funds, including $300 million to an early childhood endowment fund and $75 million to PERA to implement legislation authorizing non-compounding cost of living adjustment for the next three years to retirees.
Compensation: HB2 provides $47 million for salary increases for state employees and higher education employees for an average of 3& and additional amounts for judges, district attorney lawyers, prison guards, dispatchers, forensic scientists and state police.
Transportation: HB2 includes $255 million from the general fund for additional road funding, of which includes $119 million large maintenance projects and interchanges, and over $7 million for rural air service support services totaling $126 million.
Finally, by enacting HB2 and the Feed Bill (which keeps the lights on during the session) and SB4 (US Census Complete Count which is on its way to the governor) General Fund Reserves will total $2 billion, or a 26.3% of recurring appropriation (not one time but every year)