Tough calls ahead on the state budget

NOW IT’S the Legislature’s turn.

Gov. Haley Barbour has cut about all governors are allowed to cut from the state budget, whacking more than $226 million since the fiscal year began in July. State law prohibits governors from cutting agency budgets more than 5 percent without approval from the Legislature.

With state revenues running almost $137 million below estimates, Gov. Barbour has imposed 5 percent cutbacks on most agencies and programs. If current economic trends continue, the budget will have to be reduced by another $160 million by the end of the fiscal year.

State revenues have been coming in below official estimates for more than a year. Those optimistic projections have magnified the impact of the recession and made budget management more difficult for the governor and state agency chiefs.

Gulf Live