MISSISSIPPIANS SHOULD be a little worried about a powerful lawmaker’s reaction to a tiny bit of good news about the state budget.

After learning that state revenues for March may exceed projections by about a quarter of 1 percent, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Johnny Stringer couldn’t contain his joy. The Clarion-Ledger reported that the Montrose Democrat said, “This is as good of news as when my first son was born.”

Let’s hope Rep. Stringer was using exaggeration to emphasize his relief that state revenues have finally met budget projections.

For 18 consecutive months, revenues came in below expectations, forcing Gov. Haley Barbour to make a series of mid-year cuts to keep the state budget in balance. So far in this fiscal year, the governor has trimmed the budget five times.

The news for March is better, but surely it’s not good enough to swell the hearts of the legislators who oversee the budget process.

Miss. Press
4/1/10