Budget Proposal Set

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State leaders say a $3.54 billion will be presented to lawmakers in January. The Joint Legislative Budget Committee's proposal is $96.9 million more than the current spending plan.

The budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning July 1 goes before the 2004 Legislature when it convenes for a 120-day session Jan. 6.

The budget leaves the Medicaid program with a $90 million shortfall and agencies would not enjoy some of the one-time money they received this year to help cover budget gaps.

Only about $63 million of the $345 million in non-recurring funds would be replaced under the budget.

Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck stressed that any talk of projected shortfalls is speculative because the economy could improve and more money could be shifted around come January.