Lawmakers grill health directors as they seek savings

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves on Tuesday asked pointed questions of state agency leaders about their spending, and chided a couple for bellyaching about their budgets to the media.

“You’ve been in the news a lot lately,” Reeves told state Department of Mental Health Director Diana Mikula. “Your communications director is doing a good job. I would tell you to give them a raise, but you probably already have.”

New special panels of lawmakers held hearings with agency leaders Monday and Tuesday, looking for ways to overhaul state government and cut spending. The panels — an idea promoted by House Speaker Philip Gunn — are expected to recommend “comprehensive reform” of state taxing and spending to the full Legislature next year.

Two panels on Tuesday tackled health-care agencies and spending, which accounts for a huge chunk — more than $1.4 billion — of the $6 billion state budget.

Clarion Ledger
8/23/16