Upcoming year could be worse for state's budget crisis

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - When lawmakers head back to Jackson to work on state issues, they'll be met with lots of new ones and one no so new - a state budget.

Budget meetings to address the state's deficit have already been underway. Some local legislators say state agencies can expect another round of cuts and the upcoming year could become worse than this year.

"We're going to have a more extreme budget need than we've  had before and as much as we're loosing our federal stimulus. So, there's anywhere from a $800 million to $1.2 billion hole in our budget," said Rep. Larry Byrd.

"It's a tough, tough challenge. It just does not look good. All I can see is that they're telling us it's going to be another 10 to 12 percent next year that will drop so that's not good. Let's think positive and hopefully our taxes and revenues will come in above and not below," said Sen. Tom King.

"It's going to present an unprecedented set of challenges that we haven't seen in the last 10 years in terms of trying to fill those gaps. This could probably be the roughest year for public schools and our mental health system and our colleges and universities," said Rep. Toby Barker.

Lawmakers have a little more than two months now before the legislative session begins.

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