See where the money will go as legislature heads to finish | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

See where the money will go as legislature heads to finish

Posted By on Wed, May 4, 2016 at 2:34 PM

click to enlarge house.png

In case you wondered, here's the proposed omnibus spending bill for the state fiscal year beginning July 1. It's the so-called revenue stabilization bill.

It allocates a total of $5.3 billion (not all in the top priority spending category), where $5.2 billion was appropriated for the year ending June 3, or an increase of 2.7 percent.

Spending on higher education is flat. 

General education fund, some smaller agencies and administration is dead flat. Not a dollar more.

The big public school fund is budgeted up by about 1 percent to $2.188 billion. Not likely to produce much in the way of pay or insurance improvements for employees or other advancements.

The big jump is in Human Services, from $1.3 to $1.4 billion in state dollars, mostly to Medicaid.

The governor wants to put aside $13.8 million in a rainy day fund, a big jump and a lot of discretion for the executive.

Passage of remaining spending bills is proceeding generally smoothly. There was a scattering of opposition to passage with 80 votes of the Workforce Services appropriation, which includes the amendment to punish recipients of temporary assistance to needy families with more restrictions on the tiny allotments they receive ($204 for family of three). The feds may disallow this anyway. The honor roll of those who didn't go along with grinding the poor:

Voting no: E. Armstrong, Blake, Field, V. Flowers, M. Hodges, Leding, Love, Murdock, Nicks, Walker and D. Whitaker.

Not voting: C. Armstrong, K. Ferguson, M.J. Gray, Jett, Richey, Wright and the speaker (who traditionally does not vote).

Present (same as a no): Johnson, Sabin

The House finished the day with the revenue stabilization bill's passage, 85-7, with six present. Rep. Donnie Copeland spoke against the bill, because of its "deplorable" failure to make additions to, among others, early childhood education and care of children in state custody.

The session should wrap up tomorrow.

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