HOUSE REPUBLICANS OFFER SENSIBLE COMPROMISE TO EASE BUDGET REDUCTIONS

Jackson, Mississippi – Governor Haley Barbour today commended House Republicans for proposing an acceptable compromise to lessen the impact of recent budget cuts mandated under current law.

Republican representatives have proposed moving $50 million from the state’s tobacco trust fund to reduce cuts to the Departments of Corrections, Military, Human Services, Rehabilitation Services, Health, Mental Health, Bureau of Narcotics, Highway Safety Patrol, Crime Lab, Judges and Tax Commission. The funds also would restore, in full, cuts made to District Attorneys, and education funding for Ayers settlement, Chickasaw Interest, National Board Certification for teachers and student financial aid.

“The approach by House Republicans ensures that we keep enough money in our rainy day fund to manage larger revenue shortfalls in the next few years,” Governor Barbour said. “We can meet our financial obligations to our court settlements and reduce the impact of cuts to the Department of Corrections and other agencies.”

Governor Barbour wants to utilize the balance in the state’s rainy day fund over several years, which economic experts predict will be dire for state budgets. Rainy day funds in the amount of $115 million have already been spent to balance budgets in this fiscal year. The proposal of the House leadership would leave only $91 million remaining to help plug budget deficits in Fiscal Year 2012 when the state faces a $1.2 billion shortfall.

“Draining the rainy day fund too soon will put Mississippi in a worse position as this recession slices deeper into our budget,” Governor Barbour said. “It is irresponsible to fail to plan for the future.”

Governor Haley Barbour Press Release
1/26/10