Joint Finance Committee and the Calm Before the Storm

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) has finished up its round of public hearings across the state and will begin to vote on whether to approve, amend, or delete provisions from the governor’s budget.

The JFC is waiting for the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) to complete the budget papers, which provide alternative budget provisions. JFC members tend to follow the budget papers by choosing one of the options put forward by LFB.  In past years, large parts of a governor’s budget pass through the JFC with minor adjustments, but early indications show that the committee is poised to have a greater input than normal.

It is expected JFC will make changes in the areas of transportation funding, Family Care, the University System and K12 funding. There is also much talk in Capitol circles that new revenue estimates in the coming weeks could help mitigate some of the initial cuts.  However, should those estimates not be as positive as some expect, it could swiftly change committee dynamics in relation to all cuts.

JFC will likely take six weeks to finish making their changes to the budget, especially where it will be approved with a vote close or on the 12-4 partisan edge that Republicans hold on the committee.  After that, the JFC budget will then need to go through each individual house where some additional changes could be made before it goes back to the governor for potential vetoes and a signature.