Barbour asks for more education cuts - - Jackson, MS

Barbour asks for more education cuts

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As Governor Haley Barbour issues a revised budget proposal for fiscal year 2012, lawmakers are still trying to work out their differences.

"In the grand scheme of things it's not that much of a difference but where there are disagreements, it is substantial," said Senate Appropriations Chairman Doug Davis.

One of those disagreements is education. House Education Chairman Cecil Brown says Governor Barbour, for the first time, is now asking for an additional $3.5 million in cuts from vocational education programs. Brown says that could do more harm than good.

"We have to maintain a certain level of spending of vocational spending in state dollars or we loose federal money. At the level he's proposing we're going to loose millions of dollars in federal money," said Brown.

Brown says he's not getting any explanations as to why Barbour wants the additional cuts and criticizes the governor for spending more time in the air than at the capitol.

"If he would get off the airplane and sit down at his desk with us we might would have worked something out," said Brown.

With the amount of cuts to education, Brown says taxpayers could pay the price.

"You cut public schools, local taxes are going to go up to fill the gap," said Brown.

By not meeting a weekend budget deadline, lawmakers will now have to extend the legislative session. It's a move that's become the norm.

"I've been down here for seven years. That's unfortunate we haven't met this deadline in the seven years I've been down here," said Davis.

As the political battle over the budget heats up, lawmakers are still having to contend with another battle. Redistricting. That battle is at a standstill as House Speaker Billy McCoy refuses to appoint conferees, leaving Mississippi's district lines up to a court.

"There's no reason why we should go to court, there's no reason why we should advocate our responsibility to anybody," said

Senate Reapportionment Chairman Terry Burton says the hope is to have an in-house solution.

"Whether we get there or not I don't know, but there's always hope," said Burton.

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