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Barbour keeps his budget promise

Magnolia Marketplace has finally gotten over some sort of hybrid flu/weird sickness menace that has kept us out of the office this week.

The first day back has been eventful.

To recap: Gov. Haley Barbour said earlier this week that if the House did not pass the bill sent by the Senate that would extend Barbour’s budget-cutting authority from 5 percent to 10 percent, and allow him flexibility as far as which agencies got cut, that he would cut the fiscal year 2010 budget this week to balance it in the middle of spiraling state revenue. He apparently wasn’t kidding.

Barbour just wrapped a press conference in which he announced he’s ordering that the FY2010 budget be cut an additional 3.1 percent across the board, on top of the 5 percent in cuts he’s made since the budget  year started last July.

So every agency and department has been cut by 8.1 percent, for a total of $437 million. Exempt from those cuts are things like debt service, court-ordered settlement and — Magnolia Marketplace did not know this until today — the Legislature. When lawmakers passed the law that spelled out who was and wasn’t exempt from budget cuts, they included themselves in the “exempt” category.

The big ticket items broke down like this as far as total cuts for FY2010.

Mississippi Adequate Education Program: $170 million

Higher Education: $54 million

Community and Junior Colleges: $20.5

Corrections: $26.5 million

Barbour said Corrections could absorb the cuts without the release of the much-talked-about 3,500 to 4,000 prisoners, but that shifting inmate populations to community work centers and away from the state prisons, and the shifting of some discretionary stimulus money, would be necessary to make that happen.

“But I can’t guarantee that zero will be released, either,” Barbour said.

When asked if the latest cuts would result in state workers losing their jobs, Barbour replied, “Yes.”

Barbour also reiterated his long-held stance that the state’s rainy day fund has to last another couple years and that next two budget  years will feature “enormous losses” in revenue as stimulus money disappears.

As for this year, “I cannot guarantee that this is where the cuts will end,” Barbour said.

UPDATED AT 12:20 P.M. : Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, just released a statement regarding today’s budget news. “I’m not a prophet or the son of a prophet, but I predict a great hue and cry will come down on those whom Mississippians feel are responsible for unnecessarily  gutting funds and placing jobs in peril when a better alternative exists,” McCoy said, referencing the House plan that would have spent additional money from the rainy day fund and the governor’s discretionary stimulus fund.”

McCoy compared Barbour’s move today to Sherman’s March to the Sea, in which he torched every city, town and hamlet he came across. “We know how about how long it took to recover from that,” McCoy said.

  1. Douglas Miller
    January 24th, 2010 at 04:19 | #1

    What is the NOISE for? The legislature put Mr.Barbour is the spot to blame him for the only thing they left for him to do – do the cut across the board or do nothing (Haley don’t ever do nothing). Spending the rainy day fund is guaranteed to have the Dem(s)dimwits screaming “What about next year? Not spending the rainy money has the dimwits screaming to spend it” Dimwits don’t have solutions; they scream to keep their constituents riled up so they can promise them some more ‘ice cream’.
    Gov.Barbour asked for a one time allowance to make budget cuts on an specific point by point to cut where it would let everything function. His request was to cut some that could function with a 10% or more reduction, while not cutting others at all that could not function with all that the dimwits intentionally left him to do – cut across the top across the board.
    DUMB,BUMB,DUMB dimwits will not be able to satisfy the people “they” hurt because they would NOT jointly work to High Low budget INTELLIGENTLY. The people in Mississippi are very smart – they know what a skunk in the house is : it is a dimwit that screams malarkey and blames rather than help in this financial mess that started with Washington getting the dimwits hooked on ‘program’ money. Whats the worst thing you can give a teenage boy – the keys to the car :: whats the worst thing you can give a dimwit – MONEY; they are addicted just as if to crack. Where is the money going to come from next year, if the dims spend it all this year? If it spent this year, whats to keep the kids in school and prisoners in their tash-ma-halls.
    The liberal dims won’t let us chain the prisoners to each other and put them out WORKING to save a ton of money we don’t need to spend for labor that we are already spending on the (laborers..??) we already have just sitting in jail (I don’t want to hear one winey wimper about that is PUNISHMENT – DARNED RIGHT IT IS – I didn’t make that dimwit choice for them).
    Enough, HU..? There are tons of ways to keep the NEEDED government funded operations going : # 1. Get in the REAL world, just like every household in Mississippi is doing, without an dimwit forced across the board cut, cut the good hamburger and eat the not so good hamburger in soup and stew.
    If you are not part of the real world ‘hamburger’ solution – YOU ARE THE PROBLEM …..!!!

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