Officials Say Government Money to Lag Behind Recovery

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said in a news release that state revenues are not likely to improve soon, and he now has to look at making cuts again across the state to ease shortfalls.

Projections put Mississippi about $386 million in the red at the end of fiscal year 2010. Knowing things are not likely to improve by the end of the year, steps have to be taken to save even into the next fiscal year.

"The governor has made recommendations for next year's budget that require a lot of sacrifice, or would, if it was adopted," said Rep. Greg Snowden of Meridian.

Everything is likely to take cuts in funding, and that includes workforce training and education.

"The things that are our highest priority, because that's where we put most of our money because we feel so strongly about it, when tough times come and real savings have to be made, you have to go to where the real money is," Snowden said.

Mississippi State University President Dr. Mark Keenum has a committee looking at how the university can cut 15 percent in addition to the 8 percent already cut from state funding.

"We're looking at possibly, if the projections are what they say they're going to be, a 23 percent cut in state funding to Mississippi State University," said Dr. George Thomas, chair of the division of education at MSU-Meridian campus.

Some good news is that some now think we are starting to recover, but that doesn't mean an end to financial woes.

"State revenues are going to lag behind that recovery for several years, more than likely," said Snowden.

Some estimates say that state revenues might not return to 2008 levels until 2014.

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