Earlier this week, a spreadsheet emerged which outlines much of the state budget agreement reached between legislative leadership and the Governor. It does not appear that there is adequate support among legislators to pass the proposal as currently drafted so amendments are highly likely. It appears that the most prominent point of contention is the tax cut package proposed which focuses on a phased-down 2.5% flat income tax rate. This has triggered concerns about the reduction in state revenues as well as the impact on revenue sharing with local governments.
For transportation, over $288 million is directed to transportation projects across the state, far higher than the $200 million that legislative leadership had previously pledged. This includes roughly $110 million for statewide pavement preservation projects and $18 million to the State Aviation Fund, which provides revenue to public airports for capital improvement projects. A multitude of projects that were the subject of earlier bills are included but there are also many projects that were not the subject of earlier legislation.
A list of the projects in the proposed budget and an updated transportation bill matrix are attached.
Budget timing is always unpredictable. Legislative leadership will continue to work behind the scenes to garner enough votes, and when that is accomplished, the budget bills will be introduced and move quickly. In the meantime, it is very difficult to assess how long the session will drag on.