By MELINDA DESLATTE / Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Republicans on the House budget-writing committee criticized Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget proposal as an elaborate shell game balanced by shaky financing and improper money maneuvers.

The complaints came Tuesday in testy exchanges with Jindal administration leaders as the House Appropriations Committee opened its hearings on the governor's spending proposals for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Jindal relies on anticipated savings from the privatization of most LSU-run public hospitals, which hasn't yet happened, and patchwork financing from property sales and other not-yet-completed fund sweeps.

Lawmakers are questioning assumptions used to craft Jindal's budget and say some of his financing plans don't follow constitutional limits on certain pools of money.

Jindal's budget chief, Kristy Nichols, says she is confident in the financing arrangements and is certain the proposal follows the constitution.

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