How Burris' alternate budget breaks down | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How Burris' alternate budget breaks down

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 12:37 PM

House Minority Leader Rep. John Burris' alternate budget proposal shaves $21 million in revenue from Gov. Beebe's by reducing funding at 11 state agencies:

Department of Education
Department of Human Services
Heritage Department
Agriculture Department
Labor Department
Higher Education
Economic Development
Parks and Tourism
Department of Environmental Quality
Miscellaneous Agencies

To see precisely how Burris' budget breaks down (and compares to the governor's), check out this annotated version.

Note that Burris gets more than halfway to his $21 million cut by slicing more than $14 million from the governor's proposed $114 million increase in Medicaid funding.

UPDATE: Burris says the $14 million would be cut by taking that amount from surplus and then the legislature would work to "curb growth" to pay for this continuing loss of money. Easy to say.

Gov. Mike Beebe has asked agencies to detail the impacts of the cuts. Cuts, first, are people — either in the form of employees or direct services.

Burris said this amounts to a 3 percent cut for targeted agencies. Why an arbitrary 3? Why not 1, 2, 5, 10? It's the leading edge of the Republicans' starve-government plan. Reduce, reduce, reduce until it's gone. Start small, don't get people thinking about being frogs in their slowly warming kettle of water.

UPDATE II: I see Beebe called the 3 percent arbitrary, too. And questioned using surplus for the ongoing and growing needs of Medicaid. Yep.

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