LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas lawmakers have started work on the state's budget - but acknowledge they face plenty of questions that won't be answered until after the November election.
The Joint Budget Committee on Tuesday began its review of agencies' financial needs ahead of next year's legislative session. The panel is expected to focus primarily on smaller commissions and agencies in the coming weeks.
The hearings begin less than a month before an election where Republicans hope to win control of the state Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. Gov. Mike Beebe isn't expected to present his balanced budget proposal until November.
Lawmakers are also waiting on an education panel's recommendation on school funding and for a firmer number on the shortfall expected in the state's Medicaid program.
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