Senator Scott Hutchinson issued the following statement following today’s Senate passage of House Bill 2121, the General Fund budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19. Senator Hutchinson voted against the measure.
“Although I am pleased that this budget contains no tax increases and is being finalized ‘on-time,’ upon deeper review it raises questions about fiscal stability in future years,” Senator Hutchinson said. “Spending is increased by $718 million, which means spending this year will grow faster than the rate of inflation by nearly $300 million. It also includes language empowering the Budget Secretary to spend excess revenue without a vote of the legislature.
“Next year’s budget is looking quite challenging because of the use of one time revenues, because this budget moves hundreds of millions more Medicaid spending offline, and because debt payments for the Tobacco Settlement Bonds and School Construction Bonds which were used to balance the budget start coming due in 2019-20,” Senator Hutchinson continued. “We only have current surpluses because of excess borrowing last year. My prediction is that early next year, the Governor will be sounding the alarms about the need for more taxes and more revenue in order to cover budget shortfalls.”
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