Mississippi high court affirms governor's budget-cut power

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi Supreme Court has affirmed the governor's power to make mid-year state budget cuts.

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit in 2017 on behalf of two Democratic lawmakers, arguing the state constitution gives legislators the power to set budgets. The suit also says a law that allows the governor to make mid-year cuts violates the separation of powers between legislative and executive branches.

A Hinds County chancery judge ruled against the legislators in June 2017. The Supreme Court agreed Thursday, saying the executive branch has the "core power" to control budgets once they are set.

Gov. Phil Bryant cut more than $171 million from the state budget between July 2016 and May 2017 because tax collections fell short. Mississippi is required to maintain a balanced budget.