Budget Debates Heat Up as Sessions Wind Down

As of this week, more than half of the fifty states had already seen their 2013 legislative sessions adjourn. In many of those that are still going, budget debates are front and center as lawmakers race to the finish line. In some states, issues that had previously been pushed to the backburner are back on the front one, in others, major provisions are being inserted into the budget at the midnight hour, and everywhere, final showdowns are shaping up as sessions wind down. Here's a look at some of the legislative sausage-making taking place this week in the states:

In New Hampshire, the Senate passed a budget this week that blocks Medicaid expansion and includes across-the-board austerity cuts that could eliminate up to 700 state jobs, setting up a showdown with both the House and Gov. Maggie Hassan. [Concord Monitor]

In Maine, late night negotiations resulted in unanimous approval by the legislature's Appropriations Committee of a budget that would increase some taxes, restore some of Gov. Paul LePage's cuts to critical programs, and give raises to state employees, which now goes to the full legislature. [Bangor Daily News]

In Michigan, conservatives passed an omnibus budget bill that excluded $1.4 billion for road repairs and Medicaid expansion for 470,000 state residents, both supported by Gov. Rick Snyder. [Detroit News]

In Washington state, the state House approved a budget plan without Senate support but which would exclude a proposed business tax extension. [AP]

Ohio's Senate approved a budget along party lines that would expand funding for public schools (as well as voucher programs), and which also includes a number of anti-abortion provisions and tax cuts for businesses. [Columbus Dispatch]

And Wisconsin's Joint Finance Committee made last-minute insertions into their budget without debate that included controversial measures such as school vouchers, tax deductions for private school tuition, and a pilot program for bail bondsmen. [Post Crescent

(This article originally appeared in the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's email roundup of the latest state policy news. Read the full Dispatch from June 8, 2013 here or sign up to receive the Dispatch in your inbox here.)