These are uncertain times. This pandemic has turned our world upside down and the people we represent are hurting. Some have lost loved ones, many have lost jobs, and small businesses are closing and struggling to stay financially afloat. Approving this budget today rejects some of the severe cuts proposed in the Governor’s budget last month, but I think we cannot in good faith cut programs without knowing all the financial facts.
If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that things can change overnight. The budget we passed today maximizes the use of our reserve funds and recognizes that we will not know what our tax revenues will be until August at the earliest nor do we know what support the federal government will provide in reimbursing states for costs of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The legislative budget approved today does not include severe program cuts which I believe would be premature. Until there is greater certainty regarding additional federal assistance and the overall trajectory of the economy, the legislature crafted a budget that relies on alternatives as opposed to significant program cuts.
Yes, we may have to revisit some of our decisions over the next couple of months, but I’m unwilling to pull the plug on needed services and support for people, and as I’ve said many times, especially our most vulnerable citizens.