The Clarion-Ledger, 1/6/9

Deeper cuts to Mississippi’s budget appear likely as December revenues fell 9.5 percent below what was anticipated, and state officials expect the effects of another round of trimming would be more keenly felt.

Almost $356 million was collected last month, according to the State Tax Commission. That’s $16.6 million less than the amount collected in December 2007.

Gov. Haley Barbour said Monday he is evaluating what to do next. State fiscal officials are required by law to cut when revenues fall below a certain amount.

Mississippi trimmed $42 million from its $5 billion budget in November – a 2 percent cut in the fiscal year that began last July – and Barbour warned that more cuts would be necessary if revenues didn’t improve.