Phil Bryant addresses the 2011 legislative session

By Colleen Donovan - bio | email

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant was in Lamar County on Wednesday as the keynote speaker for Oak Grove Elementary School's D.A.R.E. graduation. He also addressed the 2011 legislative session.

Lawmakers return to the capitol in just a few weeks to hammer out a new budget. Bryant said he is guardedly optimistic about the end results.

The Lieutenant Governor explained that several moves have been made to ensure state government is funded properly through stimulus dollars, money from the state's rainy day fund and health care trust funds.

Bryant explained money from those sources will help legislators get through the upcoming budget year. As for education, Bryant said level funding is anticipated for public schools, while a three percent budget cut is expected for higher education.

"But we've got to understand one thing, we can not spend more money than we are bringing in. We are not about to do that. We've had five months that we do show growth in revenue and so we've increased our projection by about 1.7% and that will add about 46 million dollars again to revenue that was not projected to come in, but will be in next years budget," said Bryant.

Bryant said his legislative priorities include support for Junior and Community Colleges, Public Safety and National Guard troops at Camp Shelby.

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