Budget "Cap" Passes Committee

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The Senate Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability Committee approved the bill 6 to 1, but it's a unique committee. It has a Republican chairman and half its members are Republican, even though the Senate is dominated by Democrats.

Committee Chairman Dell Marsh said he thinks the Democratic leadership made a mistake when it assigned the bill to his committee to consider. It's the only bill his committee has received to consider in a year and a half.

But Marsh said the committee's vote will allow the bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Steve French, to discuss his legislation in the Senate. The bill sets out a formula for determining the maximum amount the legislature could appropriate each year in the general fund and education budgets.

The formula would take into account growth in tax collections and one-time windfalls of money. French said his legislation wouldn't totally prevent proration of the state budgets, but it would dramatically reduce the chances of proration occurring.