Dedicated funding – The latest

Joe
Albert

Associate Editor

Updates will be made to this entry as information becomes
available. See the “comments” section for such updates.

With slightly more than three days remaining 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.

The bill passed the Rules Committee late Thursday, and was
expected to be heard on the House floor Friday afternoon. Latest
rumblings suggest 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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