Press release on budget cuts - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Press release on budget cuts

GOVERNOR BARBOUR MAKES FOURTH ROUND OF CUTS TO FY 2010 BUDGET

Jackson, Mississippi – Governor Haley Barbour today ordered $21 million in cuts to state agencies, bringing the total cuts to nearly 8.7 percent for the current fiscal year. Revenues in January fell at a faster rate than expected and forced this fourth round of cuts.

Today's cuts affect nearly all agencies, except those exempted by state statute. The Legislature has exempted itself from budget cuts. The Supreme Court also has ruled its budget cannot be reduced by the Governor.

"We are simply taking in less money every month, and we must cut spending to keep a balanced budget as required by law," Governor Barbour said. "Mississippi families and businesses are managing their money the same way during this global financial crisis."

Revenues in January were 11.2 percent, or $40.5 million, lower than anticipated. Budget analysts now estimate the total budget shortfall for Fiscal Year 2010 to hit $458.5 million. The Governor must reduce spending as mandated by Mississippi Code § 27-104-13, which requires the State Fiscal Officer to balance the budget when state revenue falls below estimates for the fiscal year.

These across-the-board cuts will deeply impact state agencies like the Department of Corrections, which has been reduced by a total $30 million.

"Today the Senate voted to restore only $4 million to Corrections," Governor Barbour said. "Earlier this week, the House chose not to restore any of the cuts to our prison system. It would be irresponsible to cut Corrections spending by these amounts as that would require thousands of prisoners to be let out of the penitentiary and onto society."

By statute, the Governor is prohibited from cutting any agency by more than 5 percent until spending for all agencies has been cut by 5 percent. After reaching the 5 percent threshold, the Governor may make additional cuts, but only if all agencies are cut by the same amount.

Governor Barbour has asked lawmakers for the authority to be flexible with additional cuts rather than slashing budgets across the board.

"The state budget will not recover overnight," Governor Barbour said. "That is why I have asked the Legislature to give agency directors the ability to efficiently manage their funding through lump-sum budgeting and freedom from bureaucratic rules of the Personnel Board."

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