Spending and Saving | VideoAlan Miller | 1/8/2013
Lawmakers say the lobbying has already begun, with social gatherings almost every night, filled with people who want their share of the pie. There`s no big partisan divide when it comes to big issues like infrastructure needs and taxation. But beyond that, there could be.
"The state can`t take over county and township roads in general. But when we have the excess money and most of that`s being generated on those county and township roads, then that`s the time to turn around and invest some of that back in there. And that`s something that if something happens, and the revenue goes away, then the cause of the problem should go away as well," said House Appropriations Chairman Rep. Jeff Delzer (R).
"We will be doing some new things, and I think in the end, we will be recognizing that we shouldn`t just be hiding all of this money like we have in the past. We should in fact be returning it to the citizens, both in terms of lower taxation, but also in terms of programs that the citizens want," said Sen Tim Mathern (D) with the Senate Appropriations Committee.
While the state has plenty of money, leaders of both parties say it`s important for the state not to overextend itself because the good times won`t always last.
"You never know what`s going to happen The oil industry`s doing real well, ag industry`s doing real well, manufacturing, the general economy is doing real well. But that could change. You know, the rest of the nation`s not doing very well. And if we happen to start downsizing on our economy, then we have to make sure that we have enough money, either in reserve or coming in, without raising taxes that we can cover what we spend," Delzer said.
"This is a unique time in our state`s history. And it is an opportunity for them as individual Senators to say they were there in 2013 when we made this dramatic progress," Mathern said.
Mathern says he`d like to work on Medicaid expansion and health care reform, which lawmakers have been reluctant to deal with so far.
Both sides say they expect to pass the Governor`s budget proposal.