Republican Budget Proposal (Audio)
By Jenifer Jones
Republicans unveiled their plan for balancing the state budget. It includes cuts totaling over $43 million for fiscal year 2011. These cuts are ongoing. And lawmakers plan another $7.5 million in reductions for 2012. There's also a $2 million cut to the opportunity scholarship for which alternate funding sources are being sought. The Republican plan includes a two percent across the board cut for everything except K-12 funding and Medicaid. It cuts about $3 million from various Board of Regents programs, and cuts about $100 thousand from the state fair. Senator Jean Hunhoff is the Senate Appropriations Chair. She says creating the proposal was extremely difficult.
"Every one of us are tied to more than one program on here," Hunhoff says. "And to have to say, you know, is this the priority, it's very difficult to do. You all know I have a healthcare background and some of these programs directly impact healthcare. And it's a struggle for me but I have to look at the global picture and all the members did, is what do we have for resources because we cannot continue with deficit spending."
Other programs on the list for cuts include the drug court and intensive meth program, as well as more than $2 million for tobacco prevention and more than half a million dollars to the school for the deaf.
Member stations can download the audio file here.