Gordon: "Jobs Could Be Cut"

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An estimated gap between revenue and expenses ranges from $600 million to $850 million, and Gov. Haley Barbour has said he would veto any tax increase. With current revenue expected to grow about $150 million, lawmakers must make cuts.

Gordon said, "If we can't come up with new revenue, we'll have to have a reduction in work force. We'll have to cut down numbers in work force to what an agency can afford."

Brenda Scott, president of the 3100-member Mississippi Alliance of State Employees, said work force reductions would increase the state's liability and cause remaining employees to become even more overworked.

Gordon, a Democrat from Okolona, said the number of employees who might be cut depends on the size of the budget gap and the amount of revenue growth, but he said the number could be large.

The average state employee's salary is $29,400 yearly and the state pays another $9,600 for insurance and benefits. A 10 percent reduction in work force, about 1700 employees, would save $66.3 million.