Anyone who doubts how desperately short of money the state of Mississippi will be should talk with the House Appropriations Committee chairman. His job is to find funding for the FY 2006 budget, and at this time, it appears it's not available.
"We're going to have to cut. If we still raise revenue, there's still going to be deep cuts. We can't raise enough revenue to get out of the hole we're in," said Rep. Johnny Stringer.
That apparently means job cuts, too.
"I'm sure it's going to be some (state) jobs," Stringer said. "This is going to have to be some jobs. To tell you how many, I couldn't tell you. And some of them may be job slots, people retire, we may not fill those. So far as people actually losing their jobs, there will be some."
Has the legislature found an answer to the Medicaid problem?
"It's hard to answer that question. I tell you, we're going to have to do something about Medicaid. I think it's a 23 percent increase in Medicaid. We're a poor state and we can only go so far. We're not going to turn people out of nursing homes, but we're going to have to have some kind of plan to curb this spending," said Stringer.
Could this mean raising eligibility requirements in order to reduce the number of people on the Medicaid rolls?
"I'm not saying anything on what we're going to do, but we're going to have to look at it all, the whole program," Stringer said.