State Officials Begin Work on General Fund Budget
State senators are beginning work on the General Fund budget, looking for ways to fill a budget shortfall with time running short in the session. State agency heads today told members of the Senate budget committee that proposed cuts will close circuit clerk offices, slash Medicaid services and send state prisons into a danger zone of crowding and violence. Chairman Arthur Orr says there are $150 million or so in revenue bills under discussion that could lessen the cuts if they win legislative approval. One would transfer $80 million in use tax collections from the education budget and give the money to the General Fund. Other proposals would offset losses to the education budget. Another bill would allow state boards to raise fees to reflect Consumer Price Index changes.