LITTLE ROCK — Legislative leaders on Monday unveiled a $5.5 billion proposed budget for the next fiscal year that includes funding boosts for public schools, prisons, children and family services, computer-science education and early childhood education.
The plan mostly aligns with the budget proposal Gov. Asa Hutchinson released late last year.
The proposal also includes increases in reimbursements to county jails for housing state prisoners. Libraries and senior centers would receive funding increases to replace cuts of $1 million each that the Legislature approved in 2015.
Nearly $16 million would go into the state’s Rainy Day Fund under the proposal.
“This is a good budget and one that we can go home and be proud of,” House Speaker Jeremy Gillam, R-Judsonia, said Monday.
Sen. Larry Teague, D-Nashville, co-chairman of the Joint Budget Committee, said the state appears to be on track to end the current fiscal year at or above revenue projections.
“Our people and their people still think by June 30 we’re OK,” he said.
Revenues in the fiscal year that begins July 1 are expected to be “tight,” with little surplus remaining after every budgeted item is funded, he said.
The process of approving the budget takes a minimum of six days, which means the Legislature could send the budget bill to the governor next Monday. The session would then go into recess until formal adjournment, which is scheduled for May 5 at the latest.