BUDGET JOURNEY BEGINS

Paul Fogleman,

Two House Committees this week debated and then approved a budget draft that goes to the full floor of the Chamber next week. The document will move over to the State Senate which will insert its own priorities. The budget then will go to a conference committee which could report out 2016-17 spending plan by mid-June.

The House proposes a 10 percent increase for teachers pay. But not all teachers would get the 10 percent. Teachers nearing retirement would get less plus a one-time bonus. The starting pay for teachers would remain at $35,000. Those professionals in their career for six years or more would get more significant increases. State employees would get an average pay increase of 2 percent. The House and Senate have agreed on a spending cap: $22.6 billion. This does not include federal funds for Medicaid and educational initiatives.

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