Battling over the Budget for fiscal year 2010 - - Jackson, MS

Battling over the Budget for fiscal year 2010

By Ashley Conroy

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Since the legislative session began on Tuesday, Jan. 5th, House Democrats drafted up Bill 392.

 In this bill, they wanted to reach a compromise with the Governor's proposed 10% cuts as long as the Governor made the cuts evenly to all agencies rather than choosing some over others.

Governor Barbour rejected the bill and some House Democrats are concerned that agencies such as education could be affected more than has already been cut.

"He's not only cutting secondary education by 50 of our districts even if there are too many, but he talking about cutting access to higher education," said Representative James Evans (D) of Hinds County.

 Meanwhile, Lt. Governor, Phil Bryant says both the house and the senate should grant this to the governor.

"It's always been my opinion, that if we're going to burden the governor with this responsibility with making cuts, balancing the budget, we need to give him the authority to do so," Bryant said.

Rep. Evans is concerned the Governor is making too many cuts and not concerned about enhancing the economy.

"It's a great concern to me that all of the focus is on cut, cut, cut. We ought to be talking about revenue enhancement and increasing the pot," Evans said.

 Currently, Mississippi has a $6 billion dollar budget when the fiscal year began in July. Since then, $226 million has been cut from agencies.

 Some House members fear if more is cut, than Mississippi could see nearly $150 million additional dollars cut by the end of June.

 Lt. Governor Bryant says he just wants to see a decision from the House, so the Governor can then figure out exactly what needs to be cut.

"At the end of the day, somebody has to do something. And you've got one branch of the government the executive branch who's saying I'm willing to do that. And the legislature has to give him the authority to do so," Bryant said.

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