Joint Budget Committee

Feb. 16, 2022

 

Jean [00:01:27] We’re going to call Joint Budget– if you got any conversations, you need to take them outside. All right. Members, first thing we’re going to do, we got two letters from the Treasurer. These are our local sales tax supplemental and a amendment to next year’s local, city and county turn back. Mr. Anderson, do you want to explain them right quick? 

 

Anderson [00:01:55] Yes, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We’re on Item B. In Item B, there is a letter, as the chairman said, from the Treasurer of State. This is broken into two parts. The first paragraph, they’re requesting a supplemental appropriation for this year for additional appropriation authority up to– which makes it up to 950 million to cities and 850 million to counties. This is pass through money that just goes through the state tax collections that go back to the cities and counties. So that if you guys approve, if this committee approves this request, we will have authority to draft this supplemental, which will then be referred to this committee. Mr. Chairman, do you want me to stop here to take action on one at a time? Yes, sir. 

 

Jean [00:02:43] We’ll take action one at a time. Any questions on the supplemental appropriation to give money back to the sales tax that we collect for the cities and counties? Any questions? I need a motion to approve the letter. We have a motion and a second. Any discussion? All in favor say aye. Any opposed. The letter’s adopted. Mr. Anderson, B. 

 

Anderson [00:03:03] Yes, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Probably the easiest way to see this is on Page five. This is also part of their request. This is to amend House Bill 1033 Office of Treasurer Refund of local taxes. As you can see, it amends from 870 million to 1 billion and 800 million to 900 million, the same as was previously discussed. If the committee does adopt this, this, this will be an amendment adopted and it will be– go up to the chamber to be voted on to be engrossed into the bill. 

 

Jean [00:03:39] You’ve heard explanation of this letter. Any questions? Any concerns? We need a motion to adopt the amendment. We have motion and a second. Any discussion? All in favor say aye. Any opposed. All right. We’re going to the– you got a one page summary of the House bills and Senate bills. These are the, the re-appropriations. Mr Anderson, if you want to go over the House bills, we’ll start with those. 

 

Anderson [00:04:06] Yes, sir. Yes, sir, Mr. Chairman. This was a handout. Since these are all re-appropriation bills, re-appropriation bills provide spending authority for the agencies that have existing funds. It does not give any new money. It does not add any additional appropriation authority. It allows an agency that had existing funds and appropriation authority for the current year and didn’t finish a project to have that same authority for the next year. All the House bills are listed first. It’s House Bill 1081 to 1094.  And the Senate bills are on the bottom half of the page, Senate Bill 69 to Senate Bill 84. 

 

Jean [00:04:47] All right, members, you’ve heard explanation. Does anybody have a question or concern? I want you to look at these bills since they are– all right, Representative Springer, you are recognized. 

 

Springer [00:05:00] Good morning. Thank you, Mr. Chair. So are these the bills that we went over yesterday that are combined here on this list? 

 

Jean [00:05:07] No, no. 

 

Springer [00:05:08] These are new? 

 

Jean [00:05:10] Yeah, these are re-appropriation. These are projects that are going on in these departments. They could be building capital improvement, but they have not been completed. The amount does not change on them. We’re just asking the authority when July 1st gets here that they can extend them on to the next year. That’s what a re-appropriation does. 

 

Springer [00:05:32] Well, I have a question for the Education Department, Elementary and secondary education. Can I? 

 

Jean [00:05:38] Is anybody here with Education? K through 12? We’ll just see what– he might be able to answer it. Mr. Rogers, if you’ll identify yourself and answer Miss Springer’s question. 

 

Rogers [00:06:01] Greg Rogers, Department of Education. 

 

Springer [00:06:03] Good morning. Can, can you tell me specifically what, what, what, what the, the, the appropriation is for– the, the amount that’s being re-appropriated? 

 

Jean [00:06:13] What, what number are you on? 

 

Springer [00:06:15] I’m talking about Senate bill 71. I apologize. 

 

Jean [00:06:18] OK, you’re down on the Senate bills, Senate bill 70– 

 

Springer [00:06:20] Elementary education. 

 

Jean [00:06:21] Senate bill 70-what? 

 

Springer [00:06:23] 71. 

 

Jean [00:06:24] 71. Give him, give him just a minute. 

 

Rogers [00:06:53] OK, so, those are the Capitol complex re-appropriations that we have. Those are appropriations that we had to do the capital improvements for our building. The Department of Education owns the Capitol complex, which are number 4 and number 3 Capitol Mall. And so these appropriations are what we used to, to do improvements for those buildings. 

 

Springer [00:07:18] I recall us talking about that last year. So I guess the question I have, so those amounts have not changed? And can you give us a status report as to what, what’s taken place with respect to prior year and this year? 

 

Rogers [00:07:32] I’m sorry? 

 

Springer [00:07:34] What has taken place with respect to the money that’s been appropriated, any use of that, those funds? What’s that, what’s the status of that at this point? 

 

Rogers [00:07:43] So the, the funds come from the rent that we collect from our, in our building. And then what we’ve done this, this year with number 3 is we’ve renovated number 3 Capitol Mall, where career and technical education is because that building had needs for a new HVAC system, needed new carpet, needed new things. Instead of doing capital improvements that would request additional general revenue, we used this appropriation and a trust fund to make those changes to it. So it doesn’t cost any general revenue and we need to make improvements to our building. 

 

Springer [00:08:13] Anything else? 

 

Rogers [00:08:15] No, ma’am. Not, not, not right now. 

 

Springer [00:08:17] All right. Thank you. 

 

Jean [00:08:18] Thank you. Senator Chesterfield, you’re recognized for a question. 

 

Chesterfield [00:08:26] Yes, Mr. Chair. For the purpose of releasing the Department of Higher Ed from my hold. 

 

Jean [00:08:33] OK. 

 

Chesterfield [00:08:34] They’re happy people now. 

 

Jean [00:08:37] Thank you, ma’am. 

 

Chesterfield [00:08:38] Thank you, sir. 

 

Jean [00:08:40] Any other questions? All right. What we’re going to do is do the House bills. We’re going to take HB 1081 and go all the way down to HB 1094. We’re going to batch them since they’re all re-appropriations. There is no new money. If you have any relative or something that works for any of these entities and you want to pull it out or want to pull it out for any reason for a separate vote, let me know or we’re going to batch all of them on the House bills. Seeing none, we need a motion to approve. And a second. Any discussion? All in favor say aye. That is a do pass. Mr. Anderson reminded me. Any against? These, these re-appropriations are passed. All right, we’re going to the Senate bill. We’ll take up at Senate bill 69 and go down to Senate Bill 84. These are all reappropriations. No new money. Gives them the authority to spend the money over the next fiscal year on ongoing projects. Any questions? Does any of these need to be pulled out of the batch? We have a motion to pass and a second. Any discussion? All in favor say aye. Any opposed? All right. Two bills in the House packet. If you’ll go to your House packet. Mr. Anderson, you’re recognized. 

 

Anderson [00:10:21] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In the House packet, H upper right hand corner, we are on Page 9, on Page 9. There’s House Bill 1036. The Arkansas Department of Transportation is ready, Mr. Chairman. 

 

Jean [00:10:37] OK. Arkansas Department of Transportation is ready. Senate Bill 1036. Any questions? Discussion? Motion to do– a motion to pass and a second. Any discussion? All in favor, say aye. Any opposed? Bill is adopted. 

 

Anderson [00:10:56] Mr. Chairman, the last bill in the House packet is on Page 11, on Page 11. House Bill 1050, Public Employee Retirement. 

 

Jean [00:11:06] OK, members, House Bill 1050, Public Employment Retirement. Have any questions or comments? Need a motion do pass. We have one and a second. Any discussion? All in favor say aye. Any opposed. Bill is adopted. All right, we got one in the Senate packet. Turn over to the Senate packet with S in the right hand corner. Mr. Anderson, you recognized. 

 

Anderson [00:11:33] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We’re on page 9 in the Senate packet. Senate bill 36. Teacher retirement is ready, Mr. Chairman. 

 

Jean [00:11:45] All right. Teacher retirement. We have a motion do pass. Any, any questions? Any discussion? Do we have a second? We have a second. All in favor say are. Any opposed. It is adopted. All right, members, we’re going to governor’s letter number 1. We’ll give Mr. Anderson a minute. Go ahead. 

 

Anderson [00:12:16] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Governor’s letter number 1. This is a letter from the executive, the governor, and this is a request for supplemental appropriations to be drafted. If you all adopt this letter, it will give us your staff authority to draft the supplemental bills that will then be referred to this Committee for y’alls consideration. The easiest way to see all of them is on the fifth page in the handout. It actually says Page 1 on it. That is a summary of all the requests. These are for additional appropriation authority for the current year. You’ll see the first half has Education Department and DFA and Human Services are requesting additional appropriation authority. And the second half is for institutions of higher ed for additional appropriation authority. This is no new funding. They have– this is for them to spend existing balances for the current year we have. And again, it is just for us to draft the bills to bring to hear adoption of this letter. 

 

Jean [00:13:24] All right, members, you’ve heard the explanation. Any questions or discussion? Need a motion to draft this letter. We have a motion and a second. Any discussion? All in favor say aye. Any opposed. The letter is adopted. Members, tomorrow we’re going to have members day. We’ll be here at 9 o’clock. I think we already have five or six members going to be for. There’ll be some more working in, but anyway, we appreciate the good work. We’ll see you tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. We’re adjourned.