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Budget hearings begin today

At 1:45 p.m. today, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee will start the first round of hearings that will shape the revenue for the budget for fiscal year 2011. FY11 starts July 1, 2010.

Nailing down the theme is easy: There is not a lot of money to go around. Compounding that is the disappearance of a lot of federal stimulus money next December, money that filled a lot of holes in this year’s budget.

The JLBC will hear from the state Personnel Board, the Supreme Court, Attorney General Jim Hood’s office and the Department of Finance and Administration this afternoon.

The hearings that will receive more attention than most of the others is when the state Department of Education takes the mic Wednesday morning, followed by the Division of Medicaid Wednesday afternoon.

Agencies typically show up to these things with a number that is purposely inflated, and almost always receive less than they requested.

Just how much less during a time when the current budget is less than three months old and has already been cut remains to be seen, but state economist Dr. Phil Pepper could offer an idea Thursday when he briefs JLBC members on the long-term revenue outlook Thursday afternoon.

The hearings will take place in the legislative conference room of the Woolfolk Building. The full schedule isĀ here.

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