Built-In Spending Exceeds $1 Billion

On Friday, March 19, the Democrats finally released a balance sheet showing all of the spending that will be approved during the 2011 session. The numbers paint a bleak picture – according to the non-partisan Fiscal Services Division of LSA the built-in spending approved so far exceeds $1 billion for FY 2012.

HF 2526, the Health and Human Services budget bill, uses $545 million of one-time funds for Medicaid and other human services programs. This includes a transfer of $187.8 million from the Cash Reserve Fund for Medicaid. It also uses $39 million from the Senior Living Trust Fund. This does not include a $23 million supplemental need for Medicaid and estimated 6 percent growth for a total of $103 million.

HF 2519, the Federal Block Grant bill, appropriates $47.9 million from the remaining unobligated federal stimulus funding to K-12 foundation aid. The general fund appropriation is reduced by a similar amount.

HF 2531, the Standing Appropriations bill, fails to appropriate $13 million for instructional support. Unless the Legislature decides to continue the notwithstanding language in FY 2012, that will result in an increase of $13 million next year. The bill also underfunds K-12 allowable growth by $167 million. Unless the Legislature continues the cut next year, that will have to be made up for in FY 2012.

The Standings bill also appropriates funds from the Cash Reserve Fund as follows: $54.7 million for property tax credits, $10.6 million for performance of duty, $5.3 million to DOM for operations and in case the $83.8 million in savings from the state government reorganization does not materialize.

Finally, the bill underfunds the property tax credits by $55 million. Property tax credits have been under-funded in the past but they show up as a built-in expenditure in the following year.

Here is the breakdown by Fiscal Services of the $1.014 billion in built-in spending for FY 2012:

  • $303.3 million to replace Cash Reserve Fund money for Medicaid plus growth
  • $243.7 million to replace one-time federal stimulus funds for Medicaid
  • $170.1 million to fully fund 2 percent allowable growth for K-12 education
  • $109.8 million to replace one-time funds for the property tax credits
  • $50 million to replace funding for Value Fund with general fund dollars
  • $47.9 million to replace one-time stimulus funds used for K-12 education
  • $44.5 million to replace other one-time funds in Health and Human Services
  • $27.3 million to replace funding for CAT, Technology Reinvestment Fund, college student aid
  • $18 million to fully fund instructional support, non-public transportation, at-risk programs

…the Democrats’ budget plan will spend more than the state takes in and raises property taxes

Since the Democrats’ budget plan will spend more than the state takes in and raises property taxes, House Republicans cannot support it. In addition, House Republicans will continue to offer budget savings ideas. So far House Republicans have sponsored amendments to budget bills and the state government reorganization bill that would have saved taxpayers over $600 million.