The House and Senate budgets are out, and we’ve spent the weekend going through them with a fine-toothed comb.
The House budget is quite a bit heftier because, unlike the Senate, it allocates $4.4 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan. More money means more interesting line items.
The House budget in a single word: infrastructure.
The 10-figure standout in the House budget is a $3.5 billion appropriation to pay for repairs and improvements at state buildings. The funding is essentially a Governor’s Office grant program. Agencies, courts and universities would write out a list of maintenance, repair and renovation projects and turn it in to the Governor’s Office for approval.
Projects wouldn’t automatically get rubber-stamped — they would need to improve indoor air quality to prevent viral spread; improve water or sewer infrastructure; make buildings more handicap accessible; or bring aging buildings inline with modern building code.
A new look could be in store for the Capitol, too.
The Senate and House both set aside about $17.5 million for Phase 3 of the Capitol Complex’s HVAC upgrade and Phase 1 of the Capitol Complex window replacement project. What’s that mean? Those famous horizontal bars and grates that cover all four sides of the Capitol may be gone soon, replaced with windows that give the tower a fresh new look.
Another big chunk of change will head to roads projects, by way of a $2 billion infusion into the State Transportation Trust Fund.
The fund took a beating during the pandemic, but the House plan would largely make up for the revenue loss — the new funding represents a more than 20% increase. The only string attached: DOT has to use it to get to work on the projects it scrapped or shelved over the past year.
The House plan would also accelerate roads projects by pumping another $2 billion into the State Transportation Trust Fund. The infusion represents a 20% increase… [READ FULL ARTICLE]