Bryan provides glimpse of budget battle lines

Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, was today’s keynote at the monthly luncheon meeting of the Stennis Capitol Press Corps.

His opening remark? “I disagree with Gov. Barbour’s approach to the budget.”

While that isn’t a surprise — Democrats in the Legislature have rarely agreed with the Republican governor about anything — what he said in the ensuing half hour does offer a preview of what the talking points will be once lawmakers reconvene April 20 to craft a budget for fiscal year 2011.

As they have the past few budget-crafting sessions, education and Medicaid will dominate the proceedings.

Bryan rattled off a list of cash reserves — the Rainy Day Fund, Health Care Trust Fund and some discretionary stimulus money at Barbour’s disposal — and said all those reserves totaled up to $750 million.

“With all of that available, we do not need to have the devastating budget cuts,” Bryan said, referring to Barbour’s cutting roughly $500 million out of the FY2010 budget due to plunging revenue collections.

MBJ
4/5/10