PENDER: Miss.’s ‘balanced’ budget not so balanced

So, the balanced budget for the coming year could easily have a $30 million to $40 million hole in it even as the ink dries.

For the last several years, lawmakers as they set the budget have pretended the state doesn’t have to pay more than $6 million a year for property insurance. They catch it on the back-end, as a “deficit.”

As with someone’s personal budget, the results of floating deficits could be disastrous if state revenue were to take a nosedive. State agencies would have to make drastic cuts. That’s nearly impossible for Medicaid and Corrections unless they turn sick people and criminals away. Other budgets would have to be robbed.

But for fiscal 2015 and the coming year, the state has had what appears to be more than enough — $410 million — in savings, or the “Rainy Day Fund,” to cover deficits if the bottom dropped.

Clarion Ledger