House Minority Leader John Burris, along with Senator Michael Lamoureux, filed their own version of the Revenue Stabilization Bill today as the Fiscal Session kicks off at the state capitol. The bill is still a shell bill at this point, but details will be filled in later.
The final deadline for amending the text of measures is not for another two weeks.
The Revenue Stabilization Bill is the mechanism for outlining the state’s budget priorities. Democratic State Rep. Kathy Webb, co-chair of the Joint Budget Committee, has pre-filed a Revenue Stabilization Bill that is still not flushed out. It is likely to outline much of the Governor’s budget priorities.
Burris tells me he anticipates the bill will propose a slightly tighter budget than the Governor’s budget, which is currently around $4.6 billion.
Cuts will likely be small, targeted reductions focusing on agencies that do not provide essential services. The Department of Agriculture, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission are candidates for some trimming.
Education funding – other than the actual administration at the Department of Education – will be the same as Beebe’s proposal, as is Medicaid increases.
“We need to go ahead and trim the budget for what we know will be even more funding issues with Medicaid in the future,” said Burris.