Things on Jones Street are beginning to heat up as the House starting meeting in Appropriation subcommittees to hear presentations from State departments on the Governor’s budget allocations and their individual needs. Since there are extra funds available because of higher than expected revenue and lower than expected costs for Medicaid, the fight for the extra funds is in full force.  On Wednesday, both chambers’ leadership announced that they agreed on a spending amount for the fiscal year, at $22.225 billion, a 2.26% budget increase (by comparison, the Governor’s budget had a spending limit of $22.8 billion, or a 2.6% increase).  The announcement comes as good news for those closely following the short session, noting that the agreement is a positive sign for a shorter and more cohesive budget process.  However, it would make the 5% teacher salary increase proposed by the Governor very unlikely.  Next week, expect House committees to continue to meet and discuss budget goals and to begin to highlight their priorities for this year’s budget, with a goal of having their budget proposal approved and over to the Senate by May 20th. Read the full report here.