Gov. Haley Barbour announced Friday another across-the-board reduction of 3.19 percent to all state agencies, or $221 million. This is in addition to the 5 percent cuts he made in the fall of 2009.
As of now, agencies are looking at a total of 8.19 percent in cuts for this fiscal year. The governor cited revenue shortfalls.
"Last year we ended up spending $20 million more in the fiscal year than we had expected as late as June," said Barbour. "So, with 5 and a half months to go, I can't tell the public that there won't be more cuts. But we are trying to be prudent and make the cuts that are going to be necessary. "
Barbour has continued to ask the legislature for the flexibility in any additional cuts needed,after this next round of reductions.
By statute, the governor said he is prohibited from cutting any agency by more than 5 percent until spending for all agencies has been cut 5 percent.
After reaching the 5 percent threshold, the Governor may make additional cuts, but only if the same percentage of cuts is applied to each part of the budget.
Democratic leaders in the House said the Republican governor should have dipped into financial reserves to mitigate the cuts. Among those criticizing Barbour are House budget writers, Johnny Stringer and Cecil Brown, both Democrats.