The full House and Senate are slated to vote on a budget plan later today (THUR). Negotiators came to a spending agreement late last night (WED) after weeks of talks. Legislators had a tough challenge ahead of them, facing a 500 million dollar budget deficit for the fiscal year starting in July. House Speaker Mike O’Neal, a Hutchinson Republican, is satisfied with the final result.
House leaders had wanted spending cuts and a healthy reserve fund to help the state absorb any revenue shortfalls. Senate leaders wanted to minimize cuts to social services and leave the state with a smaller ending balance. The two sides agreed to spending cuts on education and state services and a reserve fund of more than 50 million dollars. The 2011 session will likely wrap up late tonight (WED) or tomorrow (FRI).