Agency demands outstrip budget

Mississippi lawmakers will have to find an additional $1.3 billion in general fund dollars than they appropriated this year if they want to fund all of the fiscal 2012 requests state agencies made this week.

During four days of Joint Legislative Budget Committee hearings, legislators heard about shrinking staffs, dilapidated buildings and outdated equipment.

Some departments said budget increases will be necessary to maintain services.

Department of Public Safety Commissioner Steve Simpson said he needs $7.3 million to train new state troopers for the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol as several have retired in recent years and have not been replaced.

Clarion-Ledger
9/24