Cretul lays it down: Senate must accept budget reductions
House Speaker Larry Cretul opened the 1 p.m. session with an update on the budget negotiations with the Senate. "I remain confident we can still, and will, resolve our differences in a timely way," he said.
But the House insists the Senate must accept its spending cuts. "By blending the proposals from both houses we would fund the state’s 'core mission' services and carry forward a balance beyond the 2009-10 budget — as the country works itself out of this recession. It would not be prudent to pass a budget this year that would likely result in a $2 billion budget deficit as early as 2011." Cretul's full statement is here.
Though the House is willing to move on taxes, the Senate is less inclined to accept House cuts to higher education (a $460 million difference) and to the state transportation trust fund (a $420 million difference).
The battle it seems, ultimately comes down to savings. The House wants to sock as much money away (up to $3 billion) to account for the declining economy in future years. The Senate wants to beef up savings to about $1 billion.