The Sun Herald, 12/5/7

Thousands of vacant state positions are eliminated and contract services and equipment purchases are sharply reduced under the proposed spending plan released by Mississippi lawmakers on Wednesday.

Those are just some of the plans lawmakers have to balance the state’s budget for next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2008.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee drafted the proposal after hearings in September from various government agencies. The result was a $4.9 billion budget that gives most agencies level or reduced funding, including Medicaid, which is facing a multimillion shortfall in this current budget year.

The budget proposal is a starting point for the 2008 Legislature. Gov. Haley Barbour will present his spending recommendations in January.