LBO "Adds" to New Budget

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The Joint Legislative Budget Committee met Monday morning and officially added $42 million to the $3.8 billion estimate of what's available to spend in the year starting July 1. The change was made based on experts' view that the state economy is showing slow but steady growth.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Johnny Stringer says lawmakers are getting closer to an agreement on the state budget.

The House and Senate convened for about an hour on Sunday to send "dummy" budget bills back to the negotiating process. Lawmakers had filed the "dummy bills," or bills with figures that will be changed, to meet a Saturday night deadline.

Stringer said lawmakers had reached a consensus on 48 funding bills, mostly special fund bills such as oil and gas and the State Barber Board. He said more talks are needed for major budgets such as K-12 public education and colleges and universities.