Monday, February 19, 2007

The House in a State of Emergency

Unfortunately, House members are not observing President's Day

Today at 2pm, the House is set to take up HJR 1 and HB 2, and tomorrow will be SCR 20.

The way it's set up, HB 5 (which is in Calendars committee and doesn't have a floor date yet) is the enabling legislation for HJR 1 -- the constitutional amendment proposal that would allow for tax breaks for seniors (65 and older) and disabled who have homestead exemptions. HJR 1 actually has bi-partisan support and would be placed on the ballot May 12, if it's voted out by Wednesday. HB 5, the enabling legislation, has a fiscal note of -$277 million over the next two years and -$745 million through the end of the 2012 fiscal year.

HB 2 carries a hefty price tag of $14.191.1 billion over the next two years alone, and it would take $4.9 billion from General Revenue -- via the "Foundation School Fund", Fund 193 -- that could fund any number of things outside of rich folks' homes. HB 2 is on the floor for today, and does not break the spending cap by itself. However, if the Lege wants to pass any other appropriations, it would have to pass SCR 20, which would break the cap while calling for the property tax cuts. Not 1 single rep on Appropriations voted against HB 2, but Reps. Noriega and Hopson voted against SCR 20 in committee. The other Dems passed on voting altogether, not wanting to anger Uncle Tom (...hat tip to Paul Moreno).

As to why this coming through 'lightning fast,' right now, your guess is as good as mine. Just hope you weren't fooled by the HR 4 debacle.


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