State News Roundup
Last night, a controversial element prohibiting collective bargaining, which was originally part of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill, was separated from that legislation and passed as an individual measure. As noted by the AP, the State Senate approved the legislation with a vote of 18-1. Notably, 14 Senate Democrats did not vote on the measure and Republican Sen. Dale Schultz cast the lone opposition vote.
As highlighted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett released his “reality-based” 2011-12 budget this past Tuesday. The budget features spending cuts to the tune of $866 million that would reduce spending to 2008-09 levels. In Gov. Corbett’s budget address to the Legislature, he said that “the day of reckoning has come” for dealing with the state’s debt and spending problems.
“Rainy Day” funds, or funds designated for dire fiscal times, have been used by thirty-seven states in the last three years to help alleviate budget cuts, this according to the National Association of State Budget Officers, or NASBO. The Washington Post reported that a handful of states have billions of dollars in “rainy day” stockpiles, but are finding they can’t access these funds due to strict rules limiting how the funds can be used. Debate will likely continue over when and how “rainy day” funds should be used.