Attorney General Jim Hood is doubling down on his criticism of lawmaker's handling of the fiscal year 2017 budget.
The FY 17 budget, which began July 1st, has left many state agency directors with questions. Chief among them, is whether their agency will still be allowed to collect and use special funds. Those are typically fees collected by agencies to be used for specific programs.
During the legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill that moved those special funds into the general fund budget. But in a recent opinion by Attorney General Jim Hood, many of the funds can't be swept into the general fund.
Speaking to reporters in Jackson yesterday, Hood says most lawmakers were -- quote -- duped into voting for the bill.
"There're only about 6 people in the Legislature that knew about this budget and, unfortunately, many voted for it but they didn't know what was in it. I'm not saying that there wrong the just weren't kept apprised like normally they would have hearings and committees to address these issues and they didn't do that. They did it at the last minute as part of their cover-up to cover up the huge budget hole that they have."
But Republican leaders are not taking the criticism lying down. In a previous conversation with MPB News, Lieutenant governor Tate Reeves says Hood is engaging in partisan politics.
"The Democrats are trying to make political hay, we're trying to govern," says Reeves. "There's a very big difference in that. What I think you'll find is that with Republican leadership have been fiscally responsible and it something that we're going to continue to do."
Hood went onto to say he believes state agencies will follow his official opinion and doubts there will be litigation on the issue.