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State Agency Cuts Recommended by Senate Committee
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Senate Appropriations Committee Reviewing Budget
Desare Frazier

Legislators in the Mississippi senate plan to begin debating state agency funding today.  Almost all of them will see cuts.

The senate appropriations committee went through it's recommended state agency budget allocations line by line Tuesday morning. Republican Senator Buck Clarke of Hollandale, chairs the committee. He says the state has $6.1 billion to allocate and they're being cautious.  Budget recommendations include a 1 percent reduction in Medicaid funding which amounts to $10.1 million and a 74 percent cut to the department of marine resources which is $2.9 million.

"We're only budgeting for 98 percent of our revenue. Last year we put in there 100 percent. We thought let's budget 100 percent and we get some growth and that'll cover it. Well the governor had to make cuts, had to make two cuts and that's because not hitting 100 percent of that revenue," said Clarke.

K-12 public education funding is flat at $2.2 billion for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, the state's current funding formula.  Clarke says details on school funding will come from the House. Those details could include recommendations from EdBuild, the consulting firm hired to revamp MAEP. The Department of Finance and Administration could receive an additional $4.4 million to pay operations costs and property insurance. Democratic Senator David Blount of Hinds County, says tax cuts to corporations, including last year's $415 million, which starts to phase in next year are hurting revenues.

"The big tax cut that passed last year which I thought was a bad idea hasn't even taken effect yet, so the budget is in rough shape now and doesn't look to get better in the near term," said Blount.

Senator Buck Clarke says any increase to one state agency will mean cuts to another.