Barbour Details Budget Cuts

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Gov. Haley Barbour said a couple hundred state employees could lose their jobs under his budget. He released his spending plan Wednesday saying it could reduce the state's budget gap from $709 million this year to $356 million next year.

The governor said he wants to temporarily remove civil service protection from executive branch agencies, including the departments of corrections and human services. He says this would allow $25 million in savings when people are fired or moved to different jobs.

The governor's plan also could require state employees to pay out of their own pockets for health insurance. Right now, employees pay no premiums for themselves, only for their dependents. Their annual deductible is $450.

Barbour said workers should have the option of paying higher premiums to get lower deductibles.

Brenda Scott, leader of the Mississippi Alliance of State Employees, said it's quote, "a slap in the face'' to state workers if they lose their jobs.