Last evening, the appropriations chairmen reported that “dummy bills” (with $0 instead of actual budget numbers) were required to meet yesterday’s 8pm deadline because the staff ran out of time while preparing the reports. Twenty-four hours later, we still have no real budget conference reports for K-12 and many of the largest state agency budgets.
Legislators spent today voting on budgets for the agencies that did have “real” conference reports. The cuts to some agencies are severe and could result in layoffs. (Dept. of Health was cut 13.6%.) You can read here about the chaos surrounding the budgeting process, with House and Senate members being given conflicting information about agency budgets.
This afternoon, as members in the House and Senate chambers voted on dramatic cuts in state services, legislative leaders were down the hall negotiating deals on more tax breaks for their corporate cronies – talks that seem completely disconnected from reality. Legislators need to hear from you!
Please make sure your legislators know where you stand – absolutely NO TAX CUTS until schools are fully funded.
Capitol Switchboard: 601.359.3770
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Lt. Governor Reeves Capitol: 601.359.3200
Speaker Gunn Capitol: 601.359.3300
Legislative rules allow that, once a conference report is recommitted – as the dummy reports were, subsequent conference reports for that bill can be brought forward and voted on without any time lapse for the public or legislators to inspect the bill before a vote is taken. It is possible that we will never see the real conference report on the K-12 budget before it is taken up for a vote. The same goes for legislators.
We will keep you posted as we get more details on the K-12 budget bill, changes to the MAEP formula, and other education legislation. In the meantime, please tell all legislators from your school district that the choice is simple: children over corporate tax breaks.