As the Legislature plunges into its final week, the state Senate's budget-writing panel is set to tackle an $18.6 billion spending plan that funnels more state dollars to Medicaid.
The health program for the poor has seen its rolls skyrocket in the economic downturn. But the shift in funds to account for projected growth in Medicaid means more cuts elsewhere throughout the budget, which has already passed the House.
The 2010 budget the Senate Appropriations Committee takes up today covers the fiscal year that begins July 1. Plunging tax revenues have forced legislators to cut about $1.6 billion in state spending. But they were helped along by about $1.4 billion in federal stimulus money.