The Arkansas General Assembly adopted the state’s $4.73 billion general budget for fiscal 2013 on Friday, wrapping up the biannual fiscal session in 19 days instead of the allowed 45.
Spending in the fiscal year that begins July 1 will be $163 million more than it was in fiscal 2012, including $56 million more for state aid to local school districts and a $114 million increase for Medicaid.
Some Republican legislators failed in several attempts to set aside expected surpluses at the end of fiscal 2012 and 2013 to help address an expected $350 million to $400 million shortfall in Medicaid support in fiscal 2014.
Richard Weiss, the director of the state Department of Finance and Administration, told the lawmakers it would be prudent to leave the anticipated surpluses intact.
The 2013 budget includes total state spending of $1.99 billion on public education, $806 million for Medicaid, and $729.6 million for higher education.
The general fund budget is financed almost entirely by the state’s 6% sales tax and state income taxes.
The budget is based on expectations of fiscal 2013 general fund revenues of $4.73 billion, up from $4.57 billion in fiscal 2012.
The comprehensive budget for fiscal 2013, which includes federal grants and dedicated state tax revenues, totals $24 billion.