$1 Billion Surplus: State Senate

There’s a billion extra dollars expected to come into the state coffers, according to projections from the Republican-controlled state Senate. They argue that the extra money increases the need to provide property tax relief, and decreases the need to reduce health care spending.

From the news release:

“Our constituents are making it very clear that all property taxpayers need relief from high taxes, that the State budget must provide all school districts with increased aid, and that we cannot put people’s access to health care at risk,” said Senator Owen H. Johnson, Chairman of
the Senate Finance Committee. “With the revenue forecast complete, there is no reason that we cannot accomplish this goal.”

Full statement after the jump.

– Azi Paybarah

Senate Forecasts Nearly $1 Billion in Additional State Revenues
Additional Funds Should Be Used for Property Tax Relief, Health Care,
Education

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno and members of the Senate
Majority Conference today released a revenue forecast by the Senate Finance
Committee that estimates additional General Fund revenues, above the
Executive’s projection, of $508 million in 2007-08 and $488 million in
2006-07. The revenue projection, based on an economic forecast by the
Senate’s nationally recognized fiscal consultants, Global Insight, shows
that the total two-year General Fund revenue surplus is $996 million.

“Since the Governor released his budget, we have heard concerns that
people paying the highest property taxes would be left out of the
Governor’s property tax relief plan, there are concerns that his proposed
cuts to health care could jeopardize people’s access to care and there are
serious questions about the fairness of the distribution of school aid in
the budget,” Senator Bruno said. “The additional revenues forecast by the
Senate could be used to address these concerns.”

“We are 34 days away from budget deadline, and I believe we can work
through an open, public process and get a budget done on time,” Senator
Bruno said. “The people expect us to be accountable, and they expect a
result that is on time and is responsive to the hardworking, overburdened
taxpayers.”

“Our constituents are making it very clear that all property
taxpayers need relief from high taxes, that the State budget must provide
all school districts with increased aid, and that we cannot put people’s
access to health care at risk,” said Senator Owen H. Johnson, Chairman of
the Senate Finance Committee. “With the revenue forecast complete, there is
no reason that we cannot accomplish this goal.”

Over the past two months, the Senate Majority has proposed: a plan to
triple the size of property tax rebate checks; a plan to provide tax relief
and other assistance for economic development and job creation; and a plan
to increase tuition assistance to help make college more affordable, as
well as advocating for a significant increase in school aid and protecting
access to quality health care.

The Senate will act next month on its budget proposal that will be
submitted to public budget conference committee negotiations.
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