Powers: Delicate balance challenged

Once that budget is approved by lawmakers, Mississippi’s governor is then tasked in great measure with managing that budget. For decades, the rub has come over the difference in the responsibilities governors have in managing the budget and the legal and constitutional authority to actually do so.

Mississippi is once again at the political crossroads of that delicate balance between the executive and legislative branches of government. Mississippi must have a balanced budget. When tax revenues fall short, by law, the governor has to cut 5 percent across the board from all agencies before selecting specific agencies for further cuts.

With revenue shortfalls headed toward $400 million in the current fiscal year and projections of perhaps double or triple that shortfall over the next two budget years, Gov. Haley Barbour has asked legislators for additional flexibility in making needed budget cuts.