LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe urged lawmakers to find ways to work across party lines and keep their focus on the state’s budget as the Legislature convened for its fiscal session on Monday.
The Democratic governor, however, faced a potential challenge from Republicans who said they’re preparing an alternative to the $4.7 billion budget he’s proposed for the coming year.The bill keeps pay flat for constitutional officers, legislators, judges and prosecutors and pays for 13 new district judgeships. It heads to the House for a vote on Tuesday
The Joint Budget Committee advanced legislation that will keep pay flat for the state’s elected officials and create 13 new judgeships next year. The proposed General Appropriation, which is the first bill lawmakers must approve, funds the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
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The bill keeps pay flat for constitutional officers, legislators, judges and prosecutors and pays for 13 new district judgeships. It heads to the House for a vote on Tuesday.
Moore, however, is pushing for one of the few non-budget items that have been proposed. He’s called for a repeal of a tax break for truckers set to go into effect in July that was part of a highway plan approved by the Legislature last year. Moore and Beebe called for the exemption’s repeal after the Arkansas Trucking Association withdrew its support for a diesel tax increase.
Arkansas State Reform, Some good, Some Not!!!!!!
Beebe has called for $114 million in new money for the state’s Human Services Department to pay for growth in Medicaid and wants $56 million in additional funding for Arkansas’ public schools for the coming year. Beebe said it’s a relatively flat budget that shows how the state has weathered the economic downturn better than others that have faced drastic cuts and widespread layoffs.
Last week, Beebe announced that $550,000 would be reallocated in the state budget to rehire 15 firefighters laid off by the state Forestry Commission. That move, and State Forester John Shannon’s announcement that he would resign after auditors criticized his management of the agency, may have resolved the debate over how to rehire some of the 34 employees laid off by the commission last year.