Bryant announces $43M in budget cuts, including $11M from MAEP

Bryant announces $43M in budget cuts, including $11M from MAEP

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant announced another round of budget cuts Tuesday, and this time, the state education budget is not exempt.

State Sen. Sean Tindell tells us the governor cut $11.2 million from the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. That's a 0.5 percent reduction to the education budget.

Bryant made the official announcement on his Facebook page that he will reduce the state's budget for fiscal year 2017 by a total of $43 million in this round of cuts. He said the adjustment is less than 1 percent of Mississippi's $6.1 billion budget.

This will be the third budget cut for fiscal year 2017, which now total more than $150 million, but this is the first time education funding will be affected.

"I have for the first time made minimal reductions in education as a necessity," Bryant said in the social media post.

Bryant announced in December $56 million had to be cut from the state's budget because of an accounting error. Last month, a $55 million adjustment was ordered.

Bryant said this latest round of cuts is due to low revenue collections. He said a recent economic briefing showed "the Mississippi economy is growing, but the growth is not translating into more revenue." Bryant added the state economist does not anticipate an uptick in revenue for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Bryant said with the cuts, he also ordered $7 million be transferred from the state's "Rainy Day Fund" to the general fund.

"It is tempting to leave things alone and hope for revenue collections to improve and offset the shortfall we are experiencing. However, I feel it is imperative that we take action based on the best possible information available," Bryant said in a letter to State Fiscal Officer Laura Jackson.

Bryant said no statutorily exempt agencies will be affected, and he has exempted Student Financial Aid, School for the Blind and Deaf, the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Child Protection Services, and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency from any cuts.

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