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VEHLE: As 2014 session ends, budget issues loom large

By Mike Vehle

By the time most of you read this, the main run of the 2014 legislative session will nearly be over. On Monday and today, we will receive the budget estimates for what remains of 2014 and the following year of 2015. That’s when we will start haggling over how to spend the overage or cut for the underage from earlier forecasts and make our budget final. It is never easy, as you must have a majority in both chambers. And just because there currently is a majority of one party in both chambers it does not mean we have the same spending priorities.

As in any family or business budget, we may all agree on concepts; it’s just that we have limited resources, and determining what concept gets priority over the other is where the differences arise, no matter what party or chamber. One thing you will hear is one-time money versus ongoing revenue. We must align the onetime projects with one-time revenue and also pair ongoing revenues with ongoing formula spending. Using one-time money for ongoing formulas is very dangerous and can cause serious difficulties the following year and beyond.

We will also have conference committees on policy issues that the Senate and House passed as different pieces of legislation. Many times it is easy to find a compromise, because the differences are minor. Or, once one chamber understands the reason why a change was made, it will agree. But there are times where no compromise can be reached because the two bills are just too far apart to reach an agreement.

On March 31, we will again return to consider any vetoes the governor may make on bills in the Legislature. Until next week, enjoy the nice weather — finally.

-- Mike Vehle represents District 20 -- Davison, Aurora and Jerauld counties -- in the state Senate.