Another funding update

Joe
Albert

Associate Editor

With slightly more than four days in the session, dedicated
funding remains in play. The Senate last week passed a dedicated
funding bill and all attention has been on the House this week.

There was a sense of deja vu when the bill stalled in the House
Taxes Committee – as it did in the same Senate committee – then was
resurrected and passed out of the committee – as it also did in the
Senate. These are the things that happen when majority leaders
carry the bills.

The bill caught fire Wednesday, passing the Taxes Committee in
the morning and the Ways and Means Committee in the afternoon.

It now awaits a hearing in the Rules Committee, where it’s
expected to pass. It’s next stop is on the House floor. That
discussion and vote is likely to happen Friday. Latest rumblings
suggests there are enough votes to pass it off the House floor.

If and when that happens, a conference committee will be named
to hash out the differences between the two bills. Assuming that
happens, things likely will go down to the wire, setting up a
potentially exciting end to the session (Barring a special session,
things will wrap up by midnight on Monday).

As of now, there are a number of differences in the House and
Senate versions, though both call for a 3/8 of one percent tax
increase.

Each bill has its pros and cons. Among them:

In the Senate, 33 percent would go to fish and wildlife habitat
($96 million), but it also sends 24 percent to the arts ($70
million).

The House would give 25 percent to game and fish habitat, and
10 percent to the arts.

At this point, it’s a waiting game, but as soon as the House
passes the bill off the floor and a conference committee is named –
assuming we’re able – we’ll post the names of the conferees here,
along with their contact information. I’m sure each and every one
of them would be happy to hear from you.

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