House Budget Hearings Loom As Some Uncertainties Clearing Up

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Lawmakers are taking a short break from the budget, waiting to get final tallies on bills they passed in the special legislative session and steeling themselves for hearings to comb through the grim cut scenarios.

         Though they opened a regular legislative session Monday, budget hearings aren't scheduled to begin until next week.

         House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says he'll break the work among subcommittees to dive into individual agency budgets and look for savings.

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         The precise size of the budget gaps remains unknown. This year's shortfall ranges from $30 million to more than $50 million. Next year's hole is estimated to reach $800 million.

         Greater clarity should arrive Wednesday when the state's income forecasting panel adjusts its estimates to account for the taxes passed by lawmakers in the special session.

         – by AP Reporter Melinda Deslatte

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