[Verbatim statement] (JACKSON, Mississippi) – Governor Haley Barbour today ordered Fiscal Year 2009 spending cuts totaling $41.9 million, or two percent, for most state agencies due to a shortfall in state tax collections. With revenue falling 2.3 percent below estimates, the Governor said the cuts are mandated by Mississippi Code §27-104-13, which requires the State Fiscal Officer to balance the budget when state revenue falls below estimates for the fiscal year. He noted these budget revisions will not affect funding for such priorities as the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), Medicaid, public health and certain social services.
"By cutting $41,970,231 in state spending, we are fully offsetting the revenue shortfall through October 2008, or one-third of the fiscal year. It is likely revenue will fall short of the FY 09 estimate in the future, and further cuts in these or other programs, agencies or departments may be necessary later in the fiscal year," Governor Barbour said.
The revisions will not impact other education-related spending, such as support for vocational-technical programs, Mississippi Schools for the Blind and the Deaf, and National Board Certification. Some programs are excluded from the cuts due to court orders, such as the Ayers settlement and Chickasaw Cession interest from the sale of 16th section school lands.
Affected department and agency heads are being advised to employ maximum flexibility in making cuts in a manner that achieves the most effective delivery of services.
The Governor's announcement comes on the heels of downturns in the national and international economies, which are affecting many states' budgets.
"The past few months have made it clear our national and global economies are facing uncertain times, and it's imperative we realize Mississippi is not immune," Governor Barbour said. He said the state must continue the practice of prudent budgeting implemented when he took office in 2004 in order to successfully weather the economic uncertainty.
Agencies are required to submit their revisions to the Department of Finance and Administration Office of Budget and Fund Management by November 17, 2008. The cuts will go into effect immediately.
The following programs are excluded from the FY 2009 budget cuts announced today:
National Board Certification
Vocational and Technical
Court-ordered Chickasaw Cession interest
Mississippi Schools for the Deaf and Blind
Student Financial Aid
50% of University of Mississippi Medical Center budget
Mississippi State Department of Health
DHS Family and Children Services, and Youth Services
Rehabilitation Services related to the "Billy A" lawsuit
I'm glad that MAEP and Medicaid are not on the chopping block.
Ditto. Also glad DHS is being spared. On the face of it, this sounds like a really good budget considering the circumstances.
- Tom Head