Representative Greg Heartsill tells KNIA/KRLS News the Legislature will have some difficult decisions to make in the coming session in regards to budget, but education and Medicaid will be safe from cuts.
He says the Revenue Estimating Committee has returned a figure between $100 and $110 million below last year’s number and some belt tightening will need to take place in the state, but Heartsill wants to assure his constituents that promises made not to cut anything from schools and privatized Medicaid remain firm. Those two services are the greatest expenses in the state budget. Heartsill says the focus of cuts will be on duplication of services and that department heads in every state agency are looking for things they can do without. During the last session, the House Appropriations Committee assigned a sub-committee to the task of finding areas of duplication and overlap. Heartsill says that committee found $90 million to cut, so going back to find $110 million more in savings will be difficult, but needs to be done, because this is the reality we are dealing with. The new session will begin January 9.