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Agencies Offer an Additional $5.5 m in Budget Reductions

Jackie Yamanaka

State agencies are offering up about $5.5 million from their current budgets to help lawmakers shore up the state’s checkbook.

Republican legislative leaders made the request in hopes the agencies would help them with the hard decision of further reducing budgets.

“The money that we thought we would have is gone,” says House Appropriations Chair Nancy Balance.

The money she’s referring to comes from what’s known as the ending fund balance. It is the money that’s kept in reserve in case there are cost over-runs or emergencies in between legislative sessions.

State budget director Dan Villa defends the reductions already made or offered by the Bullock Administration. He says they came after months of work leading up to the Legislative session that began Monday.

Villa says that’s why the executive agencies would not be offering legislators much more money in this joint House Appropriations-Senate Finance and Claims work session.

“We can’t give that to you today, on the 3rd day,” Villa says. “It would not be responsible of us to try.”

Credit Legislative Fiscal Division
A spreadsheet the summarizes the information compiled during the January 5, 2017 work session on House Bill 3, looking for reductions in the current FY '17 budgets.

Still, the Department of Revenue came up with $542,000.

But most of the $5.5 million was from other agencies with the largest share from the combined budgets from the Judicial branch, The Department of Justice, and Law Enforcement.

The Legislative branch offered just over 1 million.

The remainder comes from the education budgets, including public schools and higher education.

Armed with this information, members of the two budget committees are scheduled to begin meeting next week in their joint subcommittees to comb through each agency budget to make further cuts.