House Appropriations and Finance is making progress on House Bill 2, the General Appropriations Act. At its hearing Monday afternoon, HAFC approved a number of budget recommendations for state agencies and higher education which will be rolled into the big budget document.
 
Last week committee members directed that a compromise be crafted to reconcile major differences in the higher ed recommendations coming from the executive branch and the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC).  At issue was the funding formula and how much “at risk” money would be redistributed from the base to pay for performance-based outcomes.  The Higher Ed Department, representing the Executive, wanted 10 percent while the LFC called for a more modest 2.5 percent.  The compromise was 4 percent to be considered for redistribution.  In addition, it was determined that the spending recommendation would be at the LFC levels, which you’ll also recall featured approximately $10 million more dollars.
 
The higher ed funding formula remains a project in progress and it was made clear that work on how the formula is implemented will continue during the interim.
 
The proposed higher education endowment increase has been cut from $7.5 million to $4 million, which raised objections from some committee members. There will no doubt be efforts to replenish that amount in the full House or in the Senate.
 
The committee’s work this afternoon is far from over as they still must tackle public education, which promises to be a contentious proposition.  Their goal is to approve a budget by mid-week that will then go to the full House.