Update from the Capitol - January 2021
Legislators will continue to contend with the ongoing pandemic and related policy matters while also working toward the goal of setting the state’s biennial budget
Over the course of the next several months, legislators will continue to contend with the ongoing pandemic and related policy matters while also working toward the goal of setting the state’s biennial budget. Unlike previous sessions, legislators are expected to conduct a majority of their work remotely or with a reduced number of legislators present at the Capitol.
The state budget outlook improved in the recent forecast, which projected a $641 million surplus for the current fiscal year and a $1.273 billion deficit for the next biennium (FY 2022-23). The previously projected deficit was $4.7 billion.
Despite the positive financial situation, uncertainty remains as resolving future years’ budgets is an onerous process. Legislators hope for another positive forecast in the next budget projections, expected in late February. The projections become the basis for the final budget recommendations the legislators will prepare.
The 2021 legislature will have to navigate this work with a politically divided government. However, there is a continuity of leadership in both bodies of the legislature, all four caucuses, and in the administration, who have successfully reached budget agreements in the past. The legislature must complete its work by the computationally mandated adjournment date of May 17, 2021.