Arkansas lawmakers to begin budget hearings

Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas lawmakers are beginning work on the state's budget with questions unanswered about the state's financial and political future.

The Joint Budget Committee on Tuesday is slated to begin its review of agencies' financial needs ahead of next year's legislative session. The panel is expected to focus primarily on smaller commissions and agencies in the coming weeks.

The hearings begin less than a month before an election where Republicans hope to win control of the state Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. Gov. Mike Beebe isn't expected to present his balanced budget proposal until November.

Lawmakers are also waiting on an education panel's recommendation on school funding and for a firmer number on the shortfall expected in the state's Medicaid program.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.