The state budget deliberations for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY’18) has entered the home stretch. The Budget Conference Committee began their meetings to discuss the FY’18 budget on Monday, June 5, 2017. The job of the Conference Committee is to negotiate the differences between the House and Senate budget bills. Once that work is completed, the conference committee sends the budget to the House for a vote. If the House makes any changes, it must return the bill to the conference committee to be renegotiated. Once approved by the House, the budget passes to the Senate, which then votes its approval. From there the budget heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature or vetoes. Conference Committee members are: Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka, Senator Sal DiDomenico, Senator Vinny deMacedo, House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey, Representative Stephen Kulik, and Representative Todd Smola.
Both the Senate and House budgets include identical language regarding a 1.51 percent inflation adjustment on tuition rates and support for program reconstruction, extraordinary relief, special circumstance for salary upgrades and out-of-state rate letters. As this rate increase language was the same in each budget, it should not come before the Budget Conference Committee. However, since there is a $14 million difference between the Senate funding and House funding of the Circuit Breaker, $294.3 million and $281.3 million respectively, it will be an item the committee will debate.
We have begun a campaign to contact conference committee members using the maaps Action Network; and we will continue this push through the remainder of the budget process. Now is the time to make sure that you and your contacts have signed up for the maaps Action Network. Legislative communication is one of the most important and effective means of advocacy, and it is vital that you take the short amount of time to make the largest impact. Our voice is only as strong as the Action Network members who continue to advocate, and we encourage you to urge your friends, family members and colleagues to sign-up and participate in the Action Network on the maaps website.
We’ll continue to keep you updated as the budget process unfolds, but please feel free to contact Jim Daiute, maaps Director of Government Affairs and Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.