The House and Senate have passed their own versions of a budget, but crucial differences remain.
Now the two chambers must reconcile their funding priorities before they can agree on a final draft and send it to the governor.
At first glance, the House’s $218.1 billion budget and the Senate’s $217.7 billion budget do not seem far off.
But on some of the most hot-button issues, including public education and health care, the chambers took markedly different approaches about what to fund, how to fund it, and what to cut.
Here’s a look at how the two budget proposals compare, using information from the Legislative Budget Board.
The House and Senate are pretty close on their total spending, but their methods of finance vary greatly. The House would use $2.5 billion from the Rainy Day Fund, the state’s savings account that currently has a balance of more than $10 billion. The House also freed up $1.9 billion for the next two-year budget by delaying a payment for public schools.
The Senate, on the other hand, finds extra revenue by delaying a $2.5 billion payment to the highway fund that voters overwhelmingly approved in 2015 to boost the state’s efforts toward addressing congestion. House budget writers have argued that that accounting trick is unconstitutional.
Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for the poor and disabled, is one of the Legislature’s largest funding requirements. The House Medicaid budget includes $63.2 billion (of which $25.8 billion comes from state revenue), while the Senate budget would spend $63.9 billion (of which $26.2 billion comes from state revenue).
Despite the program’s expected growth due in part to how fast the state’s population is growing, the House budget assumes it can cut costs by $2.6 billion because of “increased federal flexibility” under the Trump administration.
Neither the House nor the Senate budget covers the projected cost of medical inflation.