Joint budget panel in flux

Agencies soon will make their pleas for the next budget year, but several lawmakers they will be asking for money will be gone when the state budget is finalized in the spring.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee – a 14-member group responsible for leading budget negotiations – will meet in September, as it does every year, to begin plotting for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2012.

But in a rare shift, neither of the committee’s co-chairmen – the lieutenant governor and House speaker – will be in those roles at the start of the legislative session, and it’s unknown how many, if any, of the other members will be a part of the new group.

“No one knows the cast of players,” said state Rep. Steve Holland, a Democrat from Plantersville who serves on the committee. “To a large degree, it’s going to be ludicrous.”

Clarion Ledger