LITTLE ROCK — The Republican leader in the state House said Monday he expects a negative reaction from state agencies to the budget proposal he unveiled last week, but he insisted his plan is achievable without layoffs or reduced services.

LITTLE ROCK — The Republican leader in the state House said Monday he expects a negative reaction from state agencies to the budget proposal he unveiled last week, but he insisted his plan is achievable without layoffs or reduced services.

“I think what you’re going to see tomorrow is state agencies come out and say the world is going to end from a half-a-percent cut, and I think that’s very unfair,” Rep. John Burris, R-Harrison, said in an informal meeting with reporters at the Capitol.

State and federal offices were closed Monday for Presidents Day. Gov. Mike Beebe asked state agencies last week to study Burris’ plan and report to him how they would be affected by the proposal to trim $21 million from Beebe’s proposed $4.7 billion budget for the next fiscal year.

Burris predicted that the agencies will complain of “massive layoffs, absolute catastrophe,” if the spending is trimmed from the budget. He said that would be an exaggeration and said he and other Republican lawmakers have identified some areas where money could be saved, though he declined to offer specifics.

Burris said it is the responsibility of agency directors to decide where the cuts should happen.

“I think it’s reasonable to ask them to come up with a list first, which is their job, their responsibility, and if they don’t we’ll have some examples,” he said. “I don’t spend all my time at the Department of Environmental Quality, but the director does, and I think it should be incumbent on her to find ways to save money — and every other agency director of the agencies that we’ve identified.”

Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said Monday that by Tuesday the governor should have a full list of projected impacts from the proposed cuts.

Based on what the agencies had reported as of Monday, “you are looking at very real potential for cuts in services and personnel,” DeCample said.

The governor’s spokesman also criticized Burris for insisting on cuts without offering specifics.

“He wants the glory but none of the responsibility that comes with it,” DeCample said.

Burris is proposing 3 percent less in general-revenue funding than Beebe has proposed for the state Agriculture, Economic Development, Education, Environmental Quality, Health, Heritage, Higher Education, Human Services, Labor and Parks and Tourism departments, as well as an 11th category called “miscellaneous agencies.”

The cut to the Education Department would not affect an increase in public school funding.

The proposal also would increase general revenue funding for Medicaid by $100 million instead of Beebe’s proposed increase of $114 million, and it would tap the state’s surplus to make up the difference.

Democrats control a majority of seats in the House and Senate, but Republicans hold enough seats to block Beebe’s budget proposal, which would require at least 67 votes in the 100-member House to introduce during a fiscal session.

Burris noted that because general revenue accounts for only a portion of agencies’ budgets, the proposed cuts in most cases would equal less than 1 percent of the agencies’ total operating budgets.

He said some Republican legislators favor cutting much more than $21 million, but he chose to propose more modest trims.

“This is so watered down to the point of almost just trying to bring people to the table where everybody can kind of bite their tongue and vote yes,” he said.

Earlier this month, Beebe announced that $550,000 had been found in the Agriculture Department’s budget to pay for the restoration of 15 jobs at the state Forestry Commission after that agency laid off 34 people because of a shortfall in its budget.

Burris said his proposal is informed by that development. He said Republican lawmakers responded to Beebe’s announcement by asking, “If we found half a million dollars on forestry, what else is out there?”

House Speaker Robert S. Moore Jr., D-Arkansas City, said last week he did not think proposing an “arbitrary” 3-percent cut was prudent management.

Agencies need “a little bit of cushion built in for those periods when things don’t go according to forecast,” Moore said.