Sunday, May 16, 2010

Legislative Reaches a "Hemispheric" Agreement. It's shortly after 2 AM Saturday night/Sunday morning and the House and Senate have put together another "hemispheric" agreement housed in HF 3834. I say "hemispheric" because everyone talks about "global" agreements around here that include the Legislature and the Governor. Seeing this one only includes the Legislature, it can only include one hemisphere of the globe.

The conference committee has just gone into recess (it will fun to watch them play dodge ball this late) to meet with the Governor.

The legislative agreement contains a bit of a surprise for the education community, as the state aid payment shift is increased in the next fiscal year from 73%/27% to 70%/30%. Combined with early recognition of property taxes, the total hit to K-12 reaches nearly $2 billion. There is no education policy in this bill and no tax increases.

The legislative agreement looks pretty much like veto bait. The language of the health and human services bill the governor vetoed yesterday is contained in this legislative agreement. The conference committee working on HF 3834 has not finished its work yet, so it will be open for amendment. It will be interesting to see if the members come back with amendments after meeting with the governor.

Governor Signs Pension Bill. After a bit of saber-rattling and a veto threat, the Governor did sign the pension bill right under the wire. The bill contains only a miniscule increase for one fund, but does raise contribution rates for both employees and employers and brings greater--and much needed--integrity to the state's pension system. I will have a summary of the bill available for distribution at next Friday's meeting.

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