JACKSON — Gov. Haley Barbour pressed House members on Monday to double his authority to make discretionary spending cuts before triggering a state law requiring the same percentage of cuts in all departments and agencies.
In his annual State of the State speech, Barbour noted that he has cut the current year’s budget by $226 million and, if tax collections continue at 8.1 percent below projections, he must trim $211 million more to balance the budget by June 30.
State law keeps Barbour from making budget cuts where he wants. Rather, he must cut all departments and agencies by 5 percent before he can go beyond that point.
“The attorney general has issued an opinion that says only debt service is exempt from the current law that limits the governor’s discretion in spending cuts,” Barbour said.