Governor proposes more cuts to 2011 budget - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Governor proposes more cuts to 2011 budget

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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - As revenue projections continue to fall, more dismal news from the governor as he prepares to make deeper cuts and calls for agency directors to prioritize.

Governor Barbour announced plans to cut 12% to 17% from most state agencies.

The fiscal year 2011 budget is estimated at $5.5 billion, a change of $500 million from last year.

He has already cut spending five times for reductions of 9.5%.

"Personally I am reluctant to appropriate 100% of the anticipated revenue because for the last two years actual revenue fell so far below what we anticipated," said Governor Haley Barbour.

The new revision brings the FY 2011 budget in 4.2% below last year and 6.3% below FY 2009.

The governor said his plan funds public schools at near peak levels, with a budget of $2.26 billion, down 1.3% from FY 2010.

More cuts included 12% from Higher Education and 8% both from the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and 10% from the Mississippi State Crime Lab.

House and senate appropriations members met behind closed doors Wednesday at the Capitol to discuss Barbour's new plans.

"It's a disaster, but our budget's not much better.  I mean there's just not enough revenue.  He really devastates education, and I'm very much opposed to that.  He's $80 million dollars below where the house is and essentially the same amount below where the senate is," said Representative Cecil Brown, chairman of the House Education Committee and a Democrat from Jackson.

Also, during the news conference Barbour said he planned to join more than 15 states suing the federal government over health care at a cost of about $3,000.

He said he believes it is beyond the federal government's power to force people to buy a product, whether that product is called health care insurance or any other product.

"The amount we're going to spend is next to nothing as I informed the attorney general in the letter when he declined to represent the state.  Obviously, the lawyers want to do this because they believe in it, and they'll lose money at that rate," said Barbour.

According to the governor, attorney Michael Wallace is representing Mississippi pro bono in that lawsuit.

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