Mississippi high court mulls case over power to cut budgets

Mississippi high court mulls case over power to cut budgets
A South Mississippi grand jury indicted four Pine Belt residents for their alleged roles in a multi-million dollar scheme. (Photo source: Raycom News Network)

JACKSON, MS (AP) - The Mississippi Supreme Court has heard arguments in a lawsuit that questions the governor's power to make midyear state budget cuts.

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed the suit in 2017 on behalf of two Democratic lawmakers.

It argues that the state constitution gives legislators the power to set budgets. The suit also says a law dealing with the governor making midyear cuts violates the separation of powers between legislative and executive branches,

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant cut more than $171 million from the state budget between July 2016 and May 2017 because tax collections fell short. Mississippi is required to maintain a balanced budget.

Bryant has called the lawsuit "ridiculous."

A Hinds County chancery judge ruled against the legislators. A state attorney asked justices Wednesday to upholds that ruling.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)