The budget bill that passed the House is irresponsible and not well thought out – those are the thoughts of Rep. Gene Reynolds, District 10, who voted against the bill Thursday.
“There’s more questions than answers,” he said. “It’s really not even a plan; it’s more kind of like an experiment that Cameron Henry and his bunch put together, and it’s going to fall way short and cause a lot of issues with health and hospitals and the list goes on. More than likely that’s going to be changed over in the Senate.”
He said the bill passed is taking $81 million from the Department of Health and Hospitals and using that money to fully fund the TOPS program.
“There is nobody on this planet that wants to fund TOPS fully any more than me,” he said. “I’m an educator. But you can’t do it by piecemealing it and dragging money out of health and hospitals or wherever you want to drag it out from year to year. TOPS needs to be a priority where it is funded solidly year to year with recurring money that doesn’t go away after one year.”
He felt the bill was a Band-Aid on a recurring issue, and he thinks the legislature will come out of the regular session in June and go right back into a special session to fix it. In the 200-plus page document, there were no bills or suggestions on raising taxes or ways to raise revenue.
“They just threw it out there to the different agencies and said, ‘Y’all cut it,’” he said. “A better plan would have been to sit down with the agencies and decide if you have to cut and come to some consensus on the best way to do it. It’s not a good plan. The vote was right down the party line, and that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.”