Attorney General Jim Hood is making last minute budget plea - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Attorney General Jim Hood is making last minute budget plea

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It's less than a week until lawmakers are back for a special session. One undone item is the Attorney General's office budget. Jim Hood said several of the programs within his office are in jeopardy because of the budget shortfall, and that could impact you.

"You reach the point of where you're cutting beyond the bone," explained Hood.

A big concern for General Hood is his Cyber Crimes Division. Fees from criminal citations helped fund the division. It's getting collected but no longer goes to the AG's office.

As the staff explained Wednesday, they're doing things like identifying and arresting child predators. And handling new ransomware issues.

"Now is not the time to be cutting cyber crime, in other words," added Hood. "It's getting worse."

But it's not the only division in jeopardy. Nine programs relied on special funding that no longer comes into the office. Those include crime victim compensation and domestic violence training.

"When they won't pay $350,000 a year for injured law enforcement and firefighters, it's bad," said Hood. "I mean it's ridiculous and it's to the point where they're being irresponsible in protecting those who protect us every day."

Hood said they're really just asking for some of the extra money that once came into their office to be returned.

"It's usually $6.5 to 7 million," explained Hood. "It wouldn't cover them. But we think we can make it on $4 million. But otherwise, we're going to lose some or all of these programs."

Meanwhile, lawmakers had mixed reaction to the last minute call to action.

"We'll still have to wait and see," said Representative John Moore. " All we can use appropriate and the money that we have available."

"It does smell a little bit like political pandering right here before the special session to trot the children or the elderly out," noted Senator Joey Fillingane. "This is a gimmick that happens unfortunately way too often in my opinion in politics."

Hood is asking Mississippians to call their legislators and ask that they replace at least $4 million in funding that's needed to keep programs in his office going.

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