Governor Criticized by Democrat for Budget Management

By: Ashley Conroy Email
By: Ashley Conroy Email

At the monthly Stennis-Capitol Press Luncheon, the usually colorful Sen. Hob Bryan wasn't bashful in speaking out about his opinion of the way Gov. Haley Barbour managed the budget.

"I disagree with Governor Barbour's approach to the budget," said Bryan. "In case anyone didn't get that, I'll say that one more time. I disagree with Governor Barbour's approach to the budget."

As chairman of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, Bryan says that he has an agenda to get part of the near $500 million cut from the budget, back.

"The governor chose to make cuts when he had at his disposal cash that he could have used to avoid them," Bryan claims.

Bryan adds that about $750 million is stored away in reserves. In particular, he would like to see $80 million go back to education.

"There has never been a year that is going to be as desperate for the public schools as next school year is going to be," said Bryan.

One of the luncheon attendees, Nancy Loome from the Parents Campaign said she is concerned what these cuts could mean for schools next year.

"It puts schools in a very precarious position financially, in that if they have some sort of emergency, they don't have cash on hand to cover those costs," said Loome.

Gov. Barbour was the guest speaker at the Stennis Luncheon just a few months ago. Since then he's cut more from the budget.

In the past, Barbour has said the state budget might be slim for several years, which is why he says he doesn't want to deplete the state's reserves.

March marked the first month in 19 months that revenue wasn't below projections.

During the Governor's last round of cuts, he said he anticipated this would be the last time he would cut from the 2010 budget, unless revenue dipped below projections once again.

In the meantime, the state legislature has halted session until April 20 when it plans to finalize the 2011 budget.

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