The General Assembly approved a $20.6 billion budget with major changes to education, health care, and economic development funding. The Senate approved the budget on a vote of 31 to 17 along party lines. The House passed the budget on a vote of 66 to 52, with 10 Republicans voting against the spending plan due in large part to education spending priorities and the amount of eugenics victim compensation approved. The Governor signed the budget into law. The Appropriations Act of 2013 spends 2.5 percent more than the last fiscal year with more than half of the spending going to education, especially K-12, the 58 community colleges, and the public university system.
Included within the budget are provisions ending teacher tenure by requiring the employment of teachers through contracts.
The budget also provides school vouchers for low-income students to pay for private schools.
Lawmakers provided nearly $1 billion for Medicaid overruns and included a special provision allowing the Governor to develop a comprehensive plan for Medicaid reform over the next several months.
Other budget provisions include:
· $230 million for the rainy day fund;
· Funding for 69 new state trooper positions;
· $1 million for military Base Realignment and Closure;
· $60 million for Job Development Investment Grants programs;
· $14 million for the Job Maintenance and Capital Development Fund over the next two years;
· Capping the state gas tax at 35.7 cents per gallon;
· $100 annual fee on plug-in cars; and,
· $50 fee on hybrids that are not plug-in.