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The Associated Press August 25, 2010, 2:07PM ET

Neb. lawmakers eye massive department for cuts

Nebraska lawmakers are thinking of ways to slim down what has been a growing piece of the state budget pie: Health and human services agencies.

On Wednesday, a committee gathered to get an overview of agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Health and Human Services Committee must identify possible cuts of $235 million that could be made over the next two-year budget cycle. It and other committees must identify 10 percent cuts to agencies they oversee so lawmakers have options when they close a large budget shortfall next year.

Agencies in the department, which oversees such things as welfare and Medicaid, use about 35 percent of the state's general-fund budget.

A decade ago it claimed less than 31 percent of the state budget.

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