Arkansas Lamakers Get Look At State Budget For Coming Year

Arkansas State Capitol
Credit Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas legislators Monday received an outline of the state’s general revenue budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year as the session began what is expected to be its final week.

The $5.5 billion general revenue budget does not differ significantly from the governor’s budget presented late in 2016.

Members of the Joint Budget Committee will review the budget during a meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Speaker of the House Jeremy Gillam, R-Judsonia, said the House is expected to vote on its version Friday and the sister version from the Senate on Monday, the day the Legislature recesses.

He said he does not expect the allocations to create much controversy.

“You get into a robbing Peter to pay Paul with a budget this tight, and I don’t anticipate very many members wanting to go down that road based on the conversations we’ve had with them over the last few days,” he said.

The largest expenditure, $2.2 billion, is for the Public School Fund, while the Department of Human Services is budgeted $1.56 billion and the state’s higher education institutions are budgeted $734 million. The general fund, which includes other state departments and agencies, is allocated $629 million. The bulk of that amount, $351 million, is allocated to the Department of Correction, while $88 million is allocated to the Department of Community Correction.

The State Police is allocated $66 million.

The allocations are included as part of the Revenue Stabilization Act, which was first written in 1945 and is amended with each fiscal cycle.