The state Senate convenes at 2:00pm Wednesday with the Republican-controlled chamber poised to give final approval to the proposed $21.7 billion state budget.
The Senate gave the 429-page spending plan initial approval Tuesday, despite appeals from Democrats to allow for more time to fully review the details of the two-year budget.
Senator Josh Stein told the chamber that even as the economy was showing signs of improvement, the spending plan did little to restore the deep cuts made during the Great Recession:
“We are 42nd in the nation in what we pay our teachers. This bill does nothing to redress those deficiencies,” explained Stein.
“The budget spends $877 less in 2016-2017 per student, than the state did nine years before in ’07-’08 in real dollars. That’s nearly one thousand dollars less per kid next year, than we did nine years earlier.”
Stein noted that this budget also pays for 5,400 fewer Pre-K slots than the state budget passed before the Great Recession.
Senate President Phil Berger countered that this year’s budget will provide tax relief and shore up the state’s rainy day fund, bringing that total to more that one billion dollars.
The Senate is expected to give the budget its final approval today. The state House will cast its first vote on the spending package Thursday.
Click below to hear part of Tuesday’s debate: