Down in Olympia, the House Majority released its draft budget this morning. We are still analyzing it to see how it lines up with our priorities, but from a first glance, it's good news. The budget retains Basic Health and Disability Lifeline, and refrains from making major eligibility cuts to long term care. Budget writers have seen good news in recent weeks with an increase in available funding due to increased tax revenue and a decrease in demand for state services.
The Senate will release its draft budget shortly and then the two chambers will negotiate to come up with a final budget. All indicators point towards the legislature getting out on time, finishing up on March 8, though there is still plenty of time for that prediction to change.
If you are curious what an actual state budget looks like, check out the highlights, the agency break down, and the budget bill.
This afternoon, MS Activist Veronica Chase will be traveling to Olympia with me to share her perspective on the House budget. The hearing starts at 3:30pm and can be viewed online. We expect a packed house as other organizations like our own share their thoughts on the budget as well.
On Friday, I mentioned that I'd be testifying in favor of the health insurance exchange bill in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee. Yesterday's hearing saw a packed room and a long list of people wishing to testify. As such, we ran out of time before I could share my testimony, but there were many people in the room who shared our sentiment. Check out the hearing below - there were some very heated exchanges over the course of the hour plus hearing: