There are big differences between the House and Senate over how to deal with the budget shortfall through June. The House would cut more from K-12 schools, while the Senate would take more from universities. The Senate would end cash grants to disabled people, while the House would end subsidized health insurance for poor adults.
But the biggest difference may be the lineup of supporters. The House passed its plan with all Republicans voting no. Senate budget writers have reached a bipartisan deal.
The result of the deal is the supplemental budget plan Senate Democrats released today. It eliminates the monthly $258 Disability Lifeline grants and slashes funding for financial aid to college students that the universities will have to make up from their tuition revenue, two cuts Murray isn’t crazy about.
“I’m not sure I would have cut cash (grants) if it had been a Democratic proposal,” Murray told reporters. “I’m not sure that we would have cut the state need grant if it had been a Democratic proposal. But there was a lot of give and take.”
Republican Sens. Joe Zarelli and Mark Schoesler negotiated with Democratic budget writers on the plan, which would make $254 million in cuts and $140 million in transfers of money.
“I’m just trying to be a good soldier and work hard in a bipartisan way to move this thing in the right direction,” Zarelli told reporters, “and to that point I hope that we’ve been influential in prodding them to do some things that maybe they wouldn’t have done otherwise.”
The plan would produce $30 million more in savings than the House found, but still leave about $200 million to deal with. To deal with the rest, Zarelli said lawmakers would be forced to rely on a budget gimmick proposed by Gov. Chris Gregoire that involves shifting school funding to the next budget period.