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House Democrats Criticize Governor Barbour’s Budget Letter

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 22 Mar 2011 11:37am | comments
Representatives Cecil Brown (left) and Johnny Stringer (right).

Mississippi's leading budget writers are planning to meet with Governor Haley Barbour this morning to work on final details of the state's five-and-a-half billion dollar budget. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that some House Democrats are upset by the Governor's perceived lack of involvement.

During the past several months, Governor Haley Barbour has criss-crossed the country meeting with Republican leaders while he ponders a 2012 presidential run.

During a trip to Nevada, Barbour sent state lawmakers a letter expressing concerns about how much is spent in the budget and how much is left in reserves.

"Now we have got the Chief Executive Officer of the state flying by and saying he is not going to abide by the deal," said Representative Cecil Brown during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Representative Cecil Brown of Jackson accused Barbour of making the budget process more difficult with his frequent out-of-state travels.

"We are here, and I know the Governor has got to be gone some. But the half year he decides he wants to stay here could include the budgeting part of the year. If he wants to be here for six months, lets include the month of March. That would be nice," Brown said.

House appropriations Chairman Johnny Stringer of Montrose says negotiations have been going well with the Senate but have come to a halt since the Governor sent his letter.

"We may compromise some. But we have already compromised with the Senate. And now he comes in and he wants us to compromise with him," Stringer said.

Stringer say their budget is balanced and leaves 203-million in reserves, which is more than the Governor's initial budget recommendation.

Senate Appropriations chairman Doug Davis of Hernando says just because the Governor has been out of town does not mean he has been out of touch.

"I have talked to him several times over the weekend. I am in close communication with his staff. He is well aware of where we are," Davis said.

Davis says there is nothing unusual about this year's budget process and thinks both chambers are close to compromise on the biggest spending items...education and health care. 


Representatives Cecil Brown (left) and Johnny Stringer (right).



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