The debate took over three hours but SB13 was given tentative approval by a 66-51 vote. Democrats objected to third reading so the bill will be on the House calendar Thursday.
The proposal lets the Governor find $400 million in savings in this year’s budget but goes beyond that to find another nearly $400 million in savings by transferring some money from various funds. There was a lot of verbal fencing over those transfers. Democrats complained withholding million from the Golden LEAF Foundation, job incentive funds and other sources would hurt job recruitment. Several amendments were offered to stop them but failed. Former Democratic Speaker Joe Hackney said it was too fast, too soon and there should have been more collaboration with his party. Republican Representative Nelson Dollar stood and asked “when are we going to get serious?” He said the Democratic majority said when they were writing the budget they would worry about next year, next year. Dollar said, “well, its next year.”
At one point Republican Representative Dale Folwell confronted the Democrats’ chief budget writer of last year Micky Michaux. He asked Michaux if he would accept the blame for the shape the budget is in now and Michaux said yes. Michaux said “you do what you have to do.”
The bill faces one more vote before being sent to the Governor.