The House measure would leave a budget balance of about $248 million, with a total cushion of nearly $1 billion when the state’s $739 million rainy-day fund is added. The Senate bill would leave a balance of about $158 million, leaving the state with almost $900 million to use if the fiscal situation worsens.
The House and Senate measures include a $25 million reduction to a proposed $50 million fund for the Chesapeake Bay that was approved in November’s special session. Both chambers also want to defer the purchase of medevac helicopters, for a savings of about $60 million to the general fund.
The House and Senate differ on how to extend Medicaid for residents without health insurance, a plan approved in November. The Senate measure delays the expansion to parents by six months, until Jan. 1. The House is proceeding with the July 1 schedule.
The House committee voted to reduce the amount of money set aside to subsidize health insurance costs for small businesses. The governor’s budget allocated $30 million for the subsidy, and the Senate cut it to $15 million. The House wants to cut the amount to $10 million in the first year.
The committee voted to save $100 million in general funds by transferring payments for Other Post Employment Benefits, which are a part of the state employee compensation package. The Senate voted to transfer about $50 million for OPEB.