Gov. Mike Beebe rolled out a proposed compromise to the Republican-proposed $21 million in cuts this morning.
Beebe’s proposed cuts totaled $678,586 and was made up of cuts from five agencies – $260,00 from Higher Education, $126,319 from Department of Environmental Quality, $104,158 from Natural Resources Commission, $97,947 from Arkansas Science and Technology Authority, and $90,162 from Department of Labor.
The bulk of the Beebe cuts is accomplished by retaining Deputy Director of Higher Education Shane Broadway as interim director and leaving the Director’s position unfilled for another year.
When asked how you reach the middle of his proposal and the Republican’s proposal, Beebe said, “I don’t think you do. I’ve gone as far as I know how to go and still have a clear conscience about being responsible with essential services.”
Burris did not sound like he was impressed with the governor’s counter-proposal, saying that while the House will vote to advance the resolution allowing the introduction of the Joint Budget Committee’s Revenue Stabilization Act (RSA) to the Senate, the budget negotiation is still at a “standstill.”
“I think there is room for more,” said Burris. “We have had some productive discussions, but I feel like we are approaching this from two different perspectives at this point.”
He said he thinks there is still room for compromise, but “is not as optimistic as I was before.”
The House did pass the Joint Budget RSA resolution this afternoon with 90 votes, and shortly thereafter, the Senate also passed an RSA resolution.
“This does not end the process at all. We still have to concur on the Senate Resolution and a bill still has to be filed,” said Burris on the vote.
“We are willing to come to the middle and figure out a place for them to compromise and I hope that is the case for them as well,” he added.