Simmons offers report from SenateBy SARITA SIMMONS,
We took first action on Senate appropriations bills passing a proposed 2021 Fiscal Year total state support budget of $6.015 billion that contains recommended reductions of up to 6.5 percent for most agencies.
The reductions are a response to the recession of 2020 caused by business closures due to COVID-19.
We heard from State Economist Dr. Darrin Webb and Herb Frierson, Commissioner of the state Department of Revenue to expect a long term financial recovery. About a $400 million decrease in state revenues is expected.
The 2021 senate recommendation would fund K-12 education at $2.435 billion – 5.73 percent lower than the $2.573 billion it received in 2020.
We suggested a $653.9 million budget for Higher Education and a $229.9 million budget for community and junior colleges. The 2021 Fiscal Year begins July 1.
Our appropriation bills now move to the House for consideration or conference. We expect a week of committee meetings.
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