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UPDATE: Some vague budget strategies fall out; others fall in

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on June 27, 2013 at 7:02 pm with No Comments »
June 28, 2013 10:28 am

UPDATE 10:25 a.m. 6/28: The budget contains at least $190 million in unspecified savings.

In addition to the $140 million in reversions mentioned below, it assumes agencies will save $30 million through lean management techniques, $5 million from more efficient use of computer technology and $5 million from more efficient delivery of back-office services to agencies.

Then there is a budget item calling for $10 million in savings “related to providing health benefits.” That would come, according to the budget, from either efficiencies or coordination with the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

Original post:

The budget still hasn’t been released publicly, so we don’t know yet what kind of fiscal sleight-of-hand might be in it.

Rep. Ross Hunter
Rep. Ross Hunter

But some proposals that raised eyebrows and questions have dropped out, according to sources on both sides.

The Senate had sought to raise tens of millions of dollars in new sales-tax revenue without a tax increase. The idea was to target online sellers in a way that was not clearly specified. The House countered with its own plan. I wrote about it here and here.

Both sides say those taxes aren’t included. “After considerable work we found that actually has technical problems. It doesn’t work,” House budget chairman Ross Hunter said today.

Another change that both sides say is gone is a proposal House Democrats briefly floated to delay school payments by a day, saving some $140 million. Some Republicans saw it as a gimmick.

Hunter said while the budget assumes some savings in lean-management techniques that improve efficiency, it avoided taking large, unspecified savings from agency operations, as the Senate had originally planned.

It does assume $140 million will go unspent at agencies and revert to the state’s bottom line, which is essentially another form of unspecified cuts.

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