Gov. Haley Barbour's budget would give agency directors the power to cut state jobs or make other changes to save money. Barbour said there are no tax increases in the spending plan that he unveiled Tuesday.
Barbour proposes fully funding a teacher pay raise and increasing overall kindergarten through 12th grade funding by $66.9 million over the current year, but that's still $197.5 million short of what state education officials are requesting for public schools.
To help pay for Medicaid, Barbour said he wants to take the $20 million a year that has been used for teen smoking prevention programs. The money is a portion of the state's tobacco lawsuit settlement and has been going by court order to the private Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi. Former Attorney General Mike Moore got the court order several years ago from a Gulf Coast chancery judge.
Barbour's budget is just one thing legislators will consider as they decide how to spend tax dollars in the fiscal year that starts next July 1.
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee is scheduled to release its own spending recommendations Wednesday. All lawmakers will get to vote on the budget during the three-month session that starts in early January.