Lawmakers were warned Thursday that additional budget cuts to higher education could put federal stimulus funding at risk. The House Committee on Appropriations recently slashed higher education funding by $50 million. The Senate Committee on Finance is reviewing House Bill 1, the $25 billion state operating budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Technically, the legislation itself still is in the House. The Senate committee decided to start reviewing the budget anyway because of the short amount of time remaining in the legislative session. The full House is slated to debate HB1 today and send the legislation to the Senate. The session ends June 21.
A disagreement with the Senate prompted the House Committee on Appropriations to make deep cuts in the upcoming budget year. Higher education and public hospitals would take the biggest hits.
At issue is how to use the “rainy day” fund, or Budget Stabilization Fund, to balance the current year’s budget. The House and the Senate are at odds on when the fund would have to be repaid. Unable to reach a resolution, the House took disputed dollars off the table and cut funding in next year’s budget.