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Legislative Update: March 29, 2019

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 1, 2019
We have done our work and presented our arguments on economic development priorities and now we have to see what the Legislature will do on funding levels for the DEED programs for which we have advocated.

The biggest challenge we face is with the budget targets that are assigned to the Jobs and Economic Development Finance Committees in the House and Senate. The Committees were given their respective budget targets last week.

The House Jobs and Economic Development budget target for the 2020-2021 biennium is $333,820,000. That’s an increase of $83,785,000 above the base which was set following the February budget forecast.

This provides some room for inclusion of funds for DEED programs. EDAM had advocated for funding of $10.5 million in each year of the biennium for the MIF Program and $10.5 million in each year of the biennium for the JCF Program. We also specifically supported a legislative proposal to establish a
$6 million per year funding level for the Redevelopment Fund.

Things will be significantly tighter on the Senates side. The Senate Jobs and Economic Growth Committee has a target for 2020-2021 of $218 million. This is well below the House target which will prove very challenging for inclusion of all of the DEED funds for which requests have been made.

It appears that the House and Senate are going to be very different in their funding levels on almost all of the budget categories. The only areas of the Senate budget which show any increase over the current biennium are in the K-12 Education Budget, Higher Education and Health and Human Services. Virtually every other category of funding is either flat or a reduction in spending from the base budget.

Everyone is now expecting there to be dramatically different funding levels and Conference Committees are going to be particularly challenging. There is already talk of a Special Session and the prospect of a state government shutdown in July if the House and Senate can’t come to terms.

We will be closely monitoring the Jobs and Economic Growth Committees and the Conference Committee that is formed to resolve House and Senate differences. We will provide weekly updates on this process as it proceeds through April and into May.

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