Gov. Mike Beebe’s office says a Republican plan to cut $21 million from the budget could result in the layoff of at least 61 state employees and could affect services ranging from firefighting to the state Crime Laboratory.
On Tuesday, the Democratic governor detailed the impact that agency heads say the budget-cutting proposal would have on their services. The GOP proposal by House Minority Leader John Burris calls for a 3 percent cut to 11 parts of the budget and a change in the way a $114 million increase for Medicaid is funded.
Action on Beebe’s $4.7 billion budget proposal has stalled over the GOP proposal. Burris said Monday that he believed agency heads were exaggerating the impact the proposed reductions would have.
The House and Senate planned to return to the Capitol on Tuesday after a long weekend.
Among the reductions Beebe warns about are 10 forensic scientists at the state Crime Lab, 39 positions at the Department of Human Services, operating hours at state parks and 15 firefighters at the Forestry Commission.
Beebe's report also warned of a possible elimination of non-mandatory programs at the Department of Human Services as well as a cut in operation expenses in programs at the Department of Environmental Quality.