Mississippi high court mulls case over power to cut budgets

Published: Jun. 6, 2018 at 2:40 PM CDT
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The Mississippi Supreme Court has heard arguments in a lawsuit that questions the governor's power to make mid-year state budget cuts.

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed the suit in 2017 on behalf of two Democratic lawmakers.

It argues that the state constitution gives legislators the power to set budgets. The suit also says a law dealing with the governor making mid-year cuts violates the separation of powers between legislative and executive branches.

Republican 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.

Bryant has called the lawsuit "ridiculous."

A Hinds County chancery judge ruled against the legislators. A state attorney asked justices Wednesday to uphold that ruling.

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