House: Tap rainy-day fund to soften cuts

The House on Tuesday passed a bill calling for the governor to tap $61 million in stimulus money and $50 million from the rainy-day fund to balance the current budget, saying it will soften the blow of cuts on employees and the state’s most vulnerable.

Gov. Haley Barbour called the legislation “unacceptable.”

“If this is all the House is going to do to meet our constitutional requirement to balance the budget, then I’ll make the cuts under existing law this week,” the governor said in a statement.

During his State of the State speech Monday, Barbour said existing law requires all agencies to take an across-the-board 8.1 percent cut if adjustments have to be made. To do that, he said, would result in the Mississippi Department of Corrections turning thousands of criminals “loose onto civil society.”