Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20th) issued the following comments following Friday’s passage of a stop gap budget bill by the Senate:
“This is not an ideal approach to the state budget, and there is no pretending otherwise. It is not the end of the disagreements that have us still knotted up two and a half months past the deadline. Maybe, hopefully, it is the beginning of the end. However, this stopgap spending measure is an absolutely critical step for education and for community institutions and for human services fueled by state funding.
I have met with a wide variety of groups and individuals. School officials, job training officials, representatives of the YMCA, Meals on Wheels, domestic violence shelters, and more. They have expressed frustration, desperation, resignation, and some harder-edged sentiments. Across the state, there are sharply differing views on taxes, spending, pensions, state stores, and the other points of contention. But there is nearly unanimous agreement that having state funding turned off in mid-September is without justification.
The situation is far more serious than the governor’s unfortunate characterization of it as a “temporary inconvenience.” The current absence of funding for schools, social services, and other community efforts is unnecessary. Individuals and organizations have more than enough challenges in their operations, without having to scramble for emergency funding, to juggle bills, and to make discouraging decisions on where and when to cut back. We cannot turn back the clock on the decision to veto the entire budget, but we can and should move constructively to alleviate the disruption going forward.
Without question, a stopgap budget is not a preferred tool in any manual of government operations. But with the when and how of a budget agreement still very much an open question, we cannot ignore what an essential life preserver it is for those providing and those depending on vital services across our communities.”