The House Appropriations Committee has approved a $28 billion budget plan that spends more than what they proposed in the regular session, but still less than what the Senate and governor wanted. The new proposal represents 98.94 percent of the state income forecast that would be spent.
“Just about a 50-50 split. We originally sent over $206 million, and this is about $100 million being spent and being kept aside. Just trying to work a compromise here," said Chairman Cameron Henry.
Henry says there has been a lot said and written in the media about the House not willing to compromise, and he hopes this proposal shows that is not the case. But he says he's not holding his breath that the upper chamber or the administration will negotiate.
“They want all or nothing, and I think they’re just going to use saying no as many times as they can and threatening special sessions after this special session unless they get exactly what they want," Henry said.
But Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says that $100 million dollars being held back is money the state might need in the mid-year that they wouldn't be able to spend. He says the responsible way to deal with the budget is to appropriate the dollars that are available.
“Let us exercise the caution that we have exercised in the past and that you’ve recognized we’ve exercised in the past in order to prepare for the event that there may be a mid-year cut," Dardenne said.
Dardenne says they want to see all of the money appropriated, but the administration will let agencies know to hold back money in case of a midyear shortfall.
“To be cautious and to be prudent and manage the shortfall that may exist in a responsible way without leaving that money on the table and without forcing the reductions that you’re going to see," Dardenne said.
Under the latest proposal, $100 million would be left on the table as opposed to $206 million. The full House will debate the spending plan Wednesday.