House and Senate Republicans have agreed to spending $100 million next fiscal year as part of a statewide broadband expansion effort. The House GOP folded the funding into the Administration and Regulation budget bill (HF 867) which passed last Wednesday on a party-line vote, 55-37. Governor Kim Reynolds has made rapid broadband expansion one of her top priorities this session.
The new broadband funding makes up roughly two-thirds of the almost $149.64 million spending bill. The remaining money is designated for a variety of state agencies to cover salaries, expenses, and maintenance, among other things. Some covered agencies include the governor’s office, the secretary of state, the state auditor, the Department of Administrative Services, and the Department of Inspections and Appeals. Democrats opposed the measure on the grounds that they wanted more spending transparency.
House and Senate Republicans also introduced their own bills to address the affordable housing shortage, another one of Reynolds’ priorities this year. The Senate bill, now numbered SF 609, was introduced last Tuesday and cleared the Ways and Means Committee the next day, making it eligible for floor debate. Among other things, the measure would add $15 million in workforce housing tax credit funds to address the existing backlog of developer demand, for a total of $40 million. It would also eliminate the revenue benchmarks, or “triggers” that the state must reach before personal income tax cuts passed in 2018 take effect. The House bill, HSB 274 calls for a larger workforce housing tax credit increase of $25 million. That aligns with Reynolds’ request to double the workforce credit to $50 million.
Last Wednesday the House filed its Health and Human Services (HHS) budget bill. It has not yet been assigned a number. The measure calls for nearly $2.05 billion in funding, slightly above the governor’s request and the Senate’s roughly $2.03 billion proposals (SF 606).
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