A mood-setting short statement, typically from a policy person about policy, each year begins the legislative session report from the Legislative Council Service. For the “2014 Highlights,” released in May, a poet, T.S. Eliot, provided the statement, “Between the dream and the reality, between the motion and the act, falls the shadow.”
Legislatures and poets deal with moods, uncertainty and mysterious processes. The key word was “shadow.” The council service said an important and obscure technical matter dominated discussions — the degree to which public school money goes to districts to use for overall education or how much is program-specific according to requirements set in Santa Fe.
Two Democratic representatives, absent due to illness, provided another overlay of uncertainty, a second shadow.
The Legislature completed its main and constitutionally assigned task of creating a budget for the budget year beginning July 1. Priorities remain, in spending order, public schools, human services, higher education, general government, aka everything else, public safety and judicial.
The normal budget track starts in the House and, once approved, moves to the Senate. About 40 percent of the time, the Senate starts the budget, as proved the case this year.