Governor Barbour unveils executive budget - - Jackson, MS

Governor Barbour unveils executive budget

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By Ashley Conroy - email

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Governor Haley Barbour announced his executive budget recommendation for fiscal year 2012.

In an afternoon news conference on Monday, Gov. Barbour said he was recommending an 8 percent reduction overall in state spending.

This amount is less than his initial projections in October. 

He estimated it could be upwards of 10 to 15 percent.

"The executive budget recommendation for this year is based on available funds of $5.467 billion dollars," Barbour said.

As state revenues have continued to stay up since FY 2011 budget year began, the Governor doesn't anticipate cuts.

However, he says is revenues turn down over the next several months, then cuts will be necessary.

"We're right around the revenue estimate" said Gov. Barbour. "I mean that's the big variable, as long the revenue stays about where it is now than we're not likely to need cuts."

Meantime, agencies like the Department of Public Safety were relieved by his budget recommendation.

Commissioner Steve Simpson says if the reductions were steady with initial projections, layoffs would be imminent.

"It's hard to say I'm pleased that it's going to be around 8 percent," Simpson said. "At one time, we told it could be as high as 15 percent. Fifteen percent could clearly not be obtained without losing a significant workforce."

Another recommendation was to reduce administrative costs wherever necessary.

For instance, Barbour proposed consolidating the state's 152 school districts to 100, and changing public school teachers pay based on student performance.

He also mentioned the prospect of consolidating some of the state's eight public universities, and changing Mississippi Public Broadcasting's funding source from the state to private sponsors.  

These recommendations come at the loss of federal stimulus dollars that will run out at the end of Fiscal Year 2011.

This loss will be more than $630 million.

The State Legislature will meet to discuss these recommendations in January when session begins.

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