The chairman of the House Ways and Means committee wants to give more money to full day kindergarten and victims of the state fair stage collapse.
The bill, currently in a House committee, would provide an extra $5 million to victims of the state fair incident. That’s on top of the $5 million set aside under the state’s tort claim cap. And full day kindergarten funding would be raised by $80 million-which puts the average funding per student at $2,400 a year, double the current amount.
That funding change would begin in the fall. The money comes from corporate tax collections found by the state last year after a software error failed to deposit it into the state’s general fund.
Ways and Means Chair Jeff Espich says spending money this way is the wisest course.
“Frankly,” he says, “I think it’s unwise to use more of our reserves until we know a little more where we’re going.”
Espich’s bill also makes changes to the state’s automatic taxpayer refund. Under current statute, if the state’s reserves exceed an amount equal to ten percent of the state budget, any leftover cash is split evenly between a taxpayer refund and the state’s teacher pension fund.
Espich’s proposal sends the first $200 million to the taxpayers. The next $200 million would be sent to the pension fund, and anything more than that is split 50-50 between the two. The committee will hear the proposal later this week.