State agencies seek big budget hikes

State Department of Mental Health officials say they need nearly $20 million more from the state next year to address recommendations expected this fall from the U.S. Department of Justice following its investigation of the system.

Adding other anticipated expenses, Executive Director Ed LeGrand on Tuesday requested a $58 million increase from the state Legislature for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2012.

The request “targets some areas where I think we are potentially a little vulnerable,” he said.

Mental health is among several state agencies using this week’s budget hearings to plead for more money, despite a report Tuesday from the state’s economist saying Mississippi is unlikely to see significant growth in the coming year.

Clarion Ledger
9/21/11