Finance Committee Has Lots of Ideas for Windfall

The Senate Finance Committee met yesterday to hear budget testimony from the Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) and the Office of State Budget (OSB).  You can view the PowerPoint presentation made by the two agencies here.  According to the BEA’s chief economist, the General Assembly has roughly $900 million additional dollars to spend this year.  The surplus is comprised of three pots of money:  the Contingency Reserve Fund, the surplus from fiscal year 2012, and estimated “new” recurring revenue.  Senators have proposed several ways to dispose of the new cash – for instance, a $180 million dollar port harbor deepening fund, a base pay increase for state employees (the House budget included a 2 percent raise), and increases to the state retirement system.

Oddly, returning surplus revenue to taxpayers doesn’t seem to be high on the Senate’s priority list.

Finance subcommittees are meeting this week with state agencies regarding their budget requests.  We’ll keep you posted as the budget moves to the floor of the Senate.

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