Gov. Haley Barbour is now saying he has a constitutional mandate to cut Medicaid services if the Legislature does not deal with a $90 million deficit in the Division of Medicaid during the current special session.
During a speech to the Mississippi Press Association last week, the second-term Republican said he swore to uphold the Constitution, which requires the state budget to be balanced.
When questioned on where in the Constitution the balanced budget provision is, Barbour spokesman Pete Smith said it was Section 63. That section reads, “No appropriation bill shall be passed by the Legislature which does not fix definitely the maximum sum thereby authorized to be drawn from the treasury.”
All appropriations bills to fund state agencies, including Medicaid, have fixed amounts to be taken from the treasury.