Legislators are hearing Gov. Mike Beebe's budget presentation this morning. The projection calls for an increase in general revenue of $155 million in the next fiscal year over this year, ample to absorb the $15 million that another half-cent reduction in the sales tax could cost.
This increase is a 3.6 percent increase in net revenue, according to Twitter posts from Rep. Duncan Baird.
It develops in the discussion that the budget for 2011 will restore state agencies to 2008 budgets before a wave of cutbacks.
Republicans say they want more tax cuts. Cheap talk as always, given that the budget must balance. Schools — half the budget — are off-limits. Prisons are underfunded now. Colleges can't be cut if the lottery amendment has any meaning. What's left? DHS. What will you cut there? Youth services? The centers for developmentally disabled? Insurance coverage for children? Nursing home care? And don't forget that just about every dollar cut from DHS means a loss of three federal dollars. Roby Brock offers more legislative comments on the question.