School ballot politics dominate budget hearings

At budget hearings Monday and Tuesday, GOP leaders on the Joint Legislative Budget Committee asked leaders of each agency what impact a 7.8 percent cut would have. Agency leaders and lawmakers warned Initiative 42’s passage would bring any number of ill effects – massive layoffs of state workers, severe cuts to or closure of programs, even potential closing of military bases.

“This is not the time to cut funding for higher education in our state,” said Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum. “… It would be a body blow.”

Even State Superintendent of Education Carey Wright responded so, when Reeves asked about cuts to the $300 million the Legislature allocates to K-12 outside the MAEP formula, for programs such as preschool and reading coaches.