FY 2012 budget talks begin from lawmakers - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

FY 2012 budget talks begin from lawmakers

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By Ashley Conroy

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - It's no secret that by the end of fiscal year 2011, the state will no longer receive federal stimulus dollars. 

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) is meeting with state agencies beginning Monday, and continuing through Thursday, to sort out the FY 2012 budget.  

"We've got to really do good budgets and to make best use of the dollars available," said Speaker of the House Bill McCoy and JLBC Chairman.

They estimate once the ARRA dollars run out, state agencies could start out next year, $500 million dollars less than this year.

"And this year, we think they'll be asking for about $607 million dollars worth of new money as terrible that is to believe in these terrible economic times,"  said Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant.

After Governor Haley Barbour sliced 12 percent from the FY '10 budget, the 2011 budget was set at $5.5 billion dollars; $500 million less than last year.

Though revenue reports for 2011 show the state slowly climbing out of the red, lawmakers say it's too early to determine if state agencies will have to pay the price.

"Our revenue projections for the first part of this fiscal year, which begin July 1, are at least meeting projections for the first time in 2 or 3 years. The trouble is, the projections are not much," Speaker McCoy said.

Meantime, Wildlife and Fisheries and Parks reported Monday the department is laying off 19 employees statewide for budgetary reasons.

Eleven of these state employees were at George Payne Kossar State Park near Enid where the park could now be close indefinitely.

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