The Clarion-Ledger Editorial, 10/20/8

An uncertain, sputtering economy dictates that cutting budgets will be a reality as agencies brace for the difficult task of trying to do more with less.

Gov. Haley Barbour has ordered agency heads to submit a 2 percent budget cut plan for the current fiscal year that ends June 30 and a 4 percent budget cut plan for Fiscal Year 2010, which begins July 1. Those cuts loom particularly ominous for K-12 public education, higher education, the state’s corrections system, mental health and Medicaid.

The economic environment is bad enough. Barbour told a business group in recent days that state revenue collections were down just over 2 percent over projections in the first quarter and that he expected that quarter “to be the best one this year.”