House Sets Spending Priorities

May 8, 2003
Posted at: 1:30 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The House today amended a previously-approved bill that sets state spending priorities.

The House action stipulates that if state revenues come in above forecast, the extra money would be spent on human services programs, such as care for the elderly and mental health services.

The move means that the bill has to go back before the Joint Budget Committee.

Representative Jodie Mahony of El Dorado complains that the amendment slows the legislative process because a version of the bill had already passed.

House members now are meeting to discuss a Senate change to a bill that would raise taxes. The House passed a bill to put in place a three-percent income tax surcharge plus increase the tax on tobacco. The Senate voted to extend the surcharge beyond the House-approved two years, but base the amount on revenue projections by the state.

The House goes back into session this afternoon.

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