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Legislature Divided Over Governor’s New Budget Recommendation

By Daniel Cherry | Published 28 Mar 2011 04:44pm | comments

The governor's revised budged recommendation drew vastly different reactions within the halls of the state capitol. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports on what some budget negotiators are saying about the proposal.

The governor is saying his new budget recommendation is making significant concessions to help the legislature to produce a budget agreement. Democrats like House Appropriations Chair Johnny Stringer say they don't see it that way.

"I don't think he's really giving anything. We've cut out of our budget with the Senate and then we've turned around and cut some more negotiating with the Governor. Soon we're not going to have anything except a large tax increase for the folks back home."

The house plan would raise spending for the new year...something the governor says is based on hopes, not economic reality. House democrats say the process would go smoothly if the governor would stay out of budgeting. Senate Appropriations Chair Doug Davis a Republican says it's in everyone's interest to work with the governor and his proposal.

"The executive branch is a part of the budgeting process. If he vetoes these bills it's my belief he can put 18 votes on the Senate floor and get enough votes in the House to sustain his Veto and then we're back to square one."

The governor says Mississippi Adequate Education Program funding would be unchanged from this year. But Barbour recommends 30 million less than the legislature in what he calls savings. House Education Chair Cecil Brown a Democrat says that will trickle down.

"It's one thing to say we're not for raising anyone's taxes, it's another thing to force it to happen and then not recognize the fact that it is happening. Last year out of 15 school districts, more than 70 districts raised local taxes to balance the budgets so if we cut them again this year what do you think is going to happen?"

If there's no agreement before April 2nd the legislature will have to go into special session. Daniel Cherry...MPB News.



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