House Bill Creeping Toward the Floor. The House K-12 Funding bill cleared the House Ways and Means Committee early this evening and will now head to the House floor for consideration later this week, most likely on Wednesday. Once it's off the floor, we'll be all set for conference committee, which should be extremely interesting. The House and the Governor are fairly close, with the House raising taxes more and shifting less and spending a bit more. The Governor has vowed not to raise any state taxes, which could complicate matters. The Senate position on cuts and no shifts will also cause some complications. As it gets closer to conference committee, I will be preparing a comparison summary of the major provisions in each bill and how they differ from the Governor's position.
Special Education in House and Senate Bills. One of the quiet victories, if it can be called a victory, is the decision by the Governor, House, and Senate to not reduce the special education base in their budgets this year. Instead, the appropriation levels set in the 2007 omnibus education funding bill are maintained in all the budget proposals being presented this year.
Those levels will provide an approximately $15 million increase for the 2010 fiscal year and an additional $50 million for the 2011 fiscal year for the special education basic formula. Excess cost aid is bascially flat for the next biennium. This is one bit of good news (albeit small as it won't prevent increasing cross-subsidy amounts) and an on-going recognition of the costs of special education.
House Tax Bill Unveiled. And that's about all I can tell you. There are a number of interesting provisions, but I have not had the opportunity to pore through the bill or the summary. I hope to have a chance to read it before it hits the House floor. I can point you to the
text of the bill and the summary if you are so inclined to peruse it for yourself.
Current Text of HF 2323: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/A09-0462.pdf
Summary of HF 2323: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/HF2323de1summary.pdf
Spreadsheet of HF 2323: http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/docs/2009ProposedOTB.pdf