Senate Passes Budget Bill, Waits for House

April 15, 2003
Posted at: 9:13 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Senate Tuesday night endorsed a spending measure tonight that a short time earlier had cleared the Joint Budget Committee.

The end-of-session bill that sets two-year spending priorities. The measure encompasses a Senate plan to cover an expected $200 million shortfall in each of the next two years. The bill would use expected revenue growth, plus $100 million in tax increases and $39 million in one-time money.

The Senate could get no action tonight from the House, which had finished its business and closed for the day. Senators later passed one resolution to extend the session through Thursday and another in which lawmakers would go home Wednesday and return next Tuesday for a few days to finish their business.

To get a budget, the Senate may have to get the House to agree to extend the session to at least Thursday. But a core group of House conservatives vowed to block the move. Legislators are at risk of going home without a budget.

Governor Huckabee vows to call special sessions to arrive at a budget. Also, legislators are to return in the fall to work out a plan for improving public schools, which will likely mean a tax increase.

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