Budget recommendation slashes more state jobs

By Brad Kessie – bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Get ready to tighten your belts another notch or two.  Mississippi lawmakers released their budget proposal for 2011.  And just like the governor's budget recommendation, it cuts costs to make sure Mississippi doesn't go broke.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee recommends the elimination of 3,600 state jobs.  And it cuts another 10 percent from agencies that are already operating on shoestring budgets.

Lawmakers' 2011 budget is more than $300 million smaller than Mississippi's current budget. Lt. Governor Phil Bryant is on the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

"In these tough economic times, we must approach the budget process realistically, using real numbers and being conservative with our appropriations," Bryant said. "I am pleased with the progress in crafting a balanced budget for fiscal 2011."

Lawmakers made sure Mississippi property owners were protected by the budget proposal. Windpool funding was included in the JLBC recommendation.

"As the cost of insurance has risen, it is becoming increasingly difficult for coast homeowners to further rebuild," said Lt. Governor Bryant. "Before Hurricane Katrina there were 16,000 Mississippians participating in the Windpool and today, there are more than 42,000 participants. We stand committed to the ongoing rebuilding of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and placed an additional $20 million towards the Windpool by utilizing the Hurricane Disaster Reserve Funds."

Governor Barbour reviewed the legislative budget recommendation. While pleased that lawmakers were focused on trimming costs, he worried about a spending issue.

"I am concerned the JLBC recommendation adds more than $145 million to the budget revenue above the Executive Budget Recommendation I announced on November 16. About half of this new money is one-time money the JLBC recommends be spent for recurring expenses. I have consistently opposed spending one-time money for recurring expenses and will do so again in the 2010 Session."

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