March 7, 2017
IDA-Supported Legislation Affected by Tight Spending
While the Administration has been touting the State’s strong balance sheet, the legislature is still keeping a very tight rein on spending, affecting at least two IDA-supported legislative proposals:
HB 1135 – Our Dental Recruitment Fund bill appears to have died without a vote in the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Tim Brown, chair of the committee, expressed concern about the requested appropriation from the State’s General Fund. This is disappointing because the bill had strong momentum coming out of the summer study committee and House Public Health Committee. But it could be a blessing in disguise. Some IDA members noted that existing statutory language did not specify that the grants were intended to be used for dental student loan forgiveness. Our Council on Governmental Affairs will be discussing how to further clarify the Recruitment Fund’s intended purpose and how we can make a stronger case that a General Fund appropriation is a good investment for the State.
HB 1001 – the Biennial Budget, contains $34,000 per year for the Donated Dental Services/Dental Lifeline Network program, but thus far we have been unsuccessful in efforts to increase this appropriation to $80,000 per year. There is time left in the legislative session, but at this point an increase in funding appears unlikely.
HB 1028 and SB 173 – Both the House and Senate Non-Covered Services bills died without a hearing in their respective Insurance Committees.