Viewpoint - Mississippi Budget Woes - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Viewpoint - Mississippi Budget Woes

The Mississippi Legislature is now in session and boy do they have their plate full. The big issue this year will be the state budget. 

In and of itself that is nothing new. But, the State Budget Office is saying something most of us in business have seen repeatedly in the past.  While Mississippi was a bit late in feeling the full effects of this historic recession…we may well be among the last to see relief. 

The length of the downturn is the same…it just seems to hit our state with off beat timing.  Governor Barbour says that we need to cut the state budget by $700-million.  Education is likely to get the biggest whack since such a large part of the state budget involves education.  The governor has talked about consolidating the state's universities…going form 8 institutions to 5.  Sooner or later that may be a necessity in a state with our lack of population and resources.  More disturbing in many ways is the proposal to consolidate the state's school districts from around 150 to 100. 

While it may save money…consolidating into a third fewer huge elementary and secondary school systems may actually be more problematic.  It may well end up hurting education at the most basic level.  There has been talk by the Governor of looking closer at potential savings in the state pension fund.   

Close to home State Senator Billy Hudson says the first thing that should happen is for lawmakers to take a 10% pay cut…from the executive branch on down.  It should be interesting and there are no easy solutions. 

Now is the time for the state's leaders and statesmen to come forth and lead our state through these perilous waters of economic uncertainty.  We should expect no less than their best efforts and initiatives. 

I'm Jim Cameron with today's Viewpoint.  Let us hear what you think.

Contact Jim Cameron at jcameron@wdam.com

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