Law passed to expend federal funds apparently has loophole

JACKSON — In May, the Legislature passed and Gov. Haley Barbour signed into law legislation that detailed how anticipated federal funds would be disbursed during the upcoming fiscal year, which started July 1.

Yet, the Republican governor announced last week that about $125 million in those federal funds, approved by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in August, would be saved for the upcoming fiscal year.

Apparently, the state bill does not say what legislators were told it said.

House Education Chair Cecil Brown, D-Jackson, explained that the legislation said the state fiscal office “shall” transfer to certain agencies not more than a specified amount of money.
The legislation does not specify a minimum amount, but only a maximum amount the state fiscal officer cannot exceed.

Bobby Harrison
9/6/10