COPY-Ark. lawmakers to discuss forestry layoffs - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

COPY-Ark. lawmakers to discuss forestry layoffs

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas lawmakers are continuing to look at the Forestry Commission's decision to lay off 34 employees to help close a $4 million budget shortfall.

A Legislative Council subcommittee planned to discuss the commission layoffs at a hearing on Tuesday. The commission in December announced the layoffs, which took effect last month.

The commission initially blamed the shortfall on a drop in revenue from timber severance taxes, but finance officials have said that the agency was improperly borrowing from federal grants to prop up its budget.

A budget panel has recommended restoring 20 employees to the commission starting July 1, but has not recommended a way to pay for the new positions. A separate legislative panel is expected to review an audit of the commission later this week.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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