Lawmakers in both the Arkansas House and Senate will wrap up with their final vote on the state’s budget on Tuesday. Each chamber voted on identical versions of the budget today Monday.
The state’s budget for its fiscal year that begins July 1st and ends June 30th of 2014 is 4.9 billion dollars and includes increases for the state’s Medicaid program and education, as well as a 2 percent cost of living raise for state employees. It passed by a vote of 80-15 in the House.
House Speaker Davy Carter told reporters after the House adjourned for the day, that even though the budget wasn’t the biggest issue of the session, it was still a top priority.
“There’s a lot of work that just went into those two bills that we just passed in many, many ways, both substantively and procedurally,” Carter said.
Though Medicaid expansion, a plan to provide state funding for a steel plant promising over 500 high paying jobs for the state, tax cuts and a myriad of controversial social issues have taken center stage this session, lawmakers on the Joint Budget Committee have been working since November to pull the state budget together.
Just before the House passed its version, the Senate voted 28 to 6 on an identical budget bill that originated in its chamber.
The House and Senate now swap their identical budget bills. Once both bills have a vote from both chambers, they will head to the Governor’s desk for a signature.