Members of the House change their minds on how best to distribute the pain of a $43 million cut in the current education budget, but might have run out of options to change a spending bill it earlier approved.
Third ranking House Democrat, Jeff Roorda of Barnhart, goes so far as to say the House should force a stalemate with the Senate over current school funding.
“The action of this body should be to refuse to adopt the Senate Committee Substitute and gridlock until the Senate agrees to take us to a conference committee where this bill belongs,” Roorda tells colleagues during House floor debate.
The Senate doesn’t believe it belongs in conference. The Senate earlier rejected a request by the House to exceed the differences between the two chambers on SCS HCS HB 2014, pointing out that there were no differences to exceed.
State tax revenues fall short of what is needed to provide schools the funding promised in the current budget: $43 million short. The House earlier approved making the school districts receiving increases under the new funding formula absorb the cuts. Now the House wants to spread the pain and cut the budgets of school districts which haven’t received a boost from the new formula, so-called “hold harmless” districts.
House Budget Committee Chairman Allen Icet has failed in his attempt to approve the Senate version of the supplemental bill and now the House Committee Substitute will be sent back to the Senate.
“The Senate may have the same train wreck at their end that we just had here, so there is no guarantee that 2014 passes,” Icet tells the Missourinet. “And if it dies at the Senate end, I don’t think there’s time to take up a new supplemental and pass it.”
Icet says the bill must pass or school districts don’t receive the money they need to complete the fiscal year.