Gov. Haley Barbour’s Fiscal Year 2011 Executive Budget Recommendation contains something for almost every lobbyist, special interest group, educational institution, state agency head and state employee to dislike.
The Barbour budget plan cuts public education at virtually every level, cuts Medicaid, cuts the state’s mental health programs, consolidates a third of the state’s school districts, merges three of the state’s eight institutions of higher learning into five, consolidates some state agencies and defunds a handful of boards and commissions.
Barbour’s budget even takes a swipe at junior college athletic programs – all $20 million worth of them in the state.
Beyond merely defending their own turf, the criticism aimed at Barbour in the wake of his explosive proposals have ranged from “cut somebody else, not me” to questioning why Barbour didn’t see the need to help state government save all this money back when he was facing the voters in 2003 and again in 2007.