Budget Committee Adopts 2012 Budget Blue PrintBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 13 Dec 2010 08:01am |
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee has approved a 5-and-a-half billion dollar budget for fiscal year 20-12 which could mean cuts for many state agencies. MPB Jeffrey Hess has more on what could be another difficult legislative session.
The 5-and-a-half billion dollar budget is 1-percent smaller than last year and includes cuts of 1-to-7 percent for most state agencies.
But the committee also included what they call a 'footnote', which are programs that they didn't fully fund but that they would like to see receive more money.
Representative Steve Holland considers the items on the footnote critical programs.
'We have a wish list of some 200-million dollars that are absolutely critical issues. The Medicaid match for community mental health centers for example. Olivia Y, which is a very relevant lawsuit dealing with foster care and child care in the state, has to be funded," Holland said.
The footnote could be a rundown for some of the most contentious battles in the next session. Lt. Governor Phil Bryant co-chairs the committee, he is pushing for an 8-million dollar high way patrol training school to train cadets to replace troopers who have left the force.
"We have got 75 troops just now, not on the high way. About 128 members of the Department of Public Safety, some were in investigations and other areas. But when you take 75 troopers off the road, people are going to die," Bryant said.
Also on the list is more money for district attorneys, veteran’s affairs, health care and more.
Speaker of the House Billy McCoy says finding money to fund those programs will be difficult because raising taxes is out of the question.
"We can't spend more than we got. And I don't see any possibility of any new revenue sources, so we have to live with what we got," McCoy said.
The budget recommendation is just a starting point for legislatures when the session starts in early January.
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