House Report

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By State Representative Todd Russ

We have three weeks to go in the House, and all eyes are on the state budget.

We have a budget gap of $878 million from what was appropriated last year.

Here are the options:

Leave the gap and let state agencies continue to find efficiencies and cut waste, keeping in mind some agencies have absorbed previous large cuts;

Fill most of the gap with savings already implemented by reducing tax incentives, exemptions and deductions and by using money available through various revolving funds;

Raise revenue to fill the gaps. One measure passed by the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget would increase revenue in three ways:

Increase the price of tax on a pack of cigarettes, by $1.50, bringing about $215 million for healthcare and to help discourage new smokers.


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