The reform efforts of the Senate Democrats were evident in the budget proposal presented on Tuesday. Some of the efforts of senators Nick Harper and Jim Hargrove have already paid off in the budget presented by Senate leadership. Hargrove says his goals were two-fold: protect reforms that were working and help to ensure that new reforms make it through the 2012 session.
Sen. Hargrove: “For me it’s very much contingent on the reforms that we’ve laid out that need to be passed with this budget. The first piece of that was not to undermine reforms of the past and I think that piece has been accomplished.”
Hargrove pointed to reforms in corrections made in the last 20 years that have reduced the state’s crime rate by 35 percent and saved the state $1.4 billion per biennium. Now the task ahead involves gathering support for bills that will further reduce costs in the current and future budgets.
Sen. Hargrove: “This budget also counts on another $60 million in reforms this biennium that will turn into hundreds of millions over the next several years.”
Hargrove says failure to pass those reforms will impact the sustainability of the budget by increasing caseloads and other areas of state spending.