State Budget Hearings Begin Tuesday

OCTOBER 9, 2006 - Posted at 7:30 a.m. CDT, updated at 3:48 p.m.

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Lawmakers are to begin budget hearings Tuesday in preparation for the legislative session that's to start in January.  The state is looking at a budget surplus of $721 million.

The Legislative Council and Joint Budget Committee will begin their traditional pre-legislative session spending reviews.

Still not in are Governor Huckabee's balanced budget proposal and the forecast for state revenues.  Those documents are due on November 9, two days after the election to decide Huckabee's successor.

Lawmakers say the uncertainty over the election means they will defer to the winner of the November 7 governor's race.

Both major party candidates are already eyeing portions of the surplus for various proposals and have suggested different ways to eliminate the state's six-cent tax on groceries.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)