Barbour Says Budget Agreement Not Legal

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Gov. Haley Barbour says he has executive authority to keep "critical" agencies operating, if there's no state budget when the new fiscal year begins next week.

In a video news conference Tuesday with Mississippi reporters, Barbour said the legislature hasn't really completed the budget. He says there are two outstanding issues.

He said one is the fiscal year that ends next week is not balanced, because there is a Medicaid deficit, and two, there is no lawful agreement for Medicaid moving forward.

"I've agreed to accept $60 million even though the hospitals themselves last year were saying their fair share is $90 million. they actually wrote a bill Senate bill 2013 that passed the Senate overwhelmingly written by the hospital association that said they should pay $90 million as their fair share," Barbour said. "So I've compromised against what they said the number was last year. but you can't compromise on putting the taxpayers in a position where they could be hit with a huge tax increase because Medicaid ran some great big deficit."

Barbour said the Mississippi Constitution requires a balanced budget and places that responsibility on the governor.

House Speaker Billy McCoy contends the House and Senate have presented a balanced budget, based on projected revenue, and set aside additional money at the governor's request.

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