The Hattiesburg American, 10/17/8

Agencies that provide everything from education to health care to public safety are trying to find ways to cut spending in an uncertain economy, but it’s too soon to tell how the cuts may affect Mississippians.

Some agency leaders say they’re already operating with less money than needed to meet current demands. Others need millions more to comply with court orders to improve services and face more legal action if they fail to do so.

Gov. Haley Barbour recently told agencies to be prepared to trim budgets because he expects tax collections to continue to fall. In a letter, he wrote that general fund revenues through Sept. 30 were 2.11 percent below estimates.

“My staff estimates that we will miss our (fiscal 2009) revenue estimate by at least $100 million,” he wrote.