The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal Editorial, 2/26/8

Federal Katrina funds bailed Gov. Haley Barbour and the Mississippi Legislature out of a huge budget hole right before the 2007 session.

The federal money is now gone, but the budget problems that existed before the election have not disappeared. The governor and the Legislature are having to face those woes during the current session.

Over a two-year period, before the election, Barbour and the Legislature were able to plug $225 million in federal, Katrina-related funds into the Division of Medicaid budget. After Katrina, the state experienced two years of double-digit revenue growth, caused almost exclusively by the Katrina recovery effort, to go along with federal funds that shored up programs like Medicaid, yet Barbour and the Legislature find themselves in another budget hole for the 2008 session.

Part of the governor’s plan to fix the budget is to put what he calls an assessment – most other people call it a tax – on hospitals.