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House Budget Blues

April 1st, 2010 by flanews

Its April Fools Day at the capitol, but there were very few laughs from House lawmakers charged with balancing the state budget.

The House passed its spending plan relying on stimulus dollars, a tuition hike, and trust fund raids to make up for three billion dollars in lost revenue. Representative David Rivera says the House tried to fund the necessities.

We made sure particularly education and health care, programs that really protect everyday peoples lives, weve protected that to the greatest extent possible, and we hope that going forward, as we deliberate with out senate colleagues, we will be able to continue to protect those important areas, said Rivera.

The budget passed on a party line vote. House Democrat Ron Saunders hopes the Senate heard his partys objections.

Some of these bad things are not in the Senate bill, thats why some Democrats in the Senate voted for the Senate bill because some of these bad things are not in the Senate side, so we are trying to point out some of these bad things that we did not get a lot of input on and hopefully the Senate will listen and in conference theyll eliminate the cut of the healthy start coalition, theyll eliminate the raid on the retirement benefits, said Saunders.

Legislation to cut retirement benefits to save the state 200 million dollars was originally defeated when 15 Republicans stood with the House Democrats to vote down the measure. The House then took a short break, reconvened and used legislative rules to jam the bill through. If the Senate agrees to the cut, thousands of retired state workers will have to rework their retirement plans.

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