Mississippi Gov. Barbour proposes FY 2012 budget: no new taxes, sweeping cuts

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November 19, 2010

By Greg Janetka

JACKSON, Mississippi: Governor Haley Barbour (R) unveiled his FY 2012 budget on November 15, proposing no increased taxes or fees. Instead, the $5.47 billion budget aims to deal with the $700 million budget gap by instituting 8% cuts to most state government agencies. This has led many to wonder if Barbour's budget proposal is a sign of things to come from other Republican governors.[1]

The FY 2012 budget contains many of Barbour's same proposals from last year, including reducing the number of school districts by one-third, closing mental health hospitals, and consolidating the state's three historically black universities. Additionally he seeks to freeze annual pay raises for teachers, cut Medicaid reimbursement rates, and reduce spending on public television, public libraries and community college sports.[2]

Resistance to many of Barbour's proposals is expected from the Democratic-controlled state legislature. Democrats hold a scant 27-25 majority in the Senate, but have a commanding 73-49 majority in the House. Notably, 2011 is also an election year for both chambers.

Barbour, who is popular and influential among Republicans, headed the Republican Governors Association in 2010, a post recently handed over to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.[3] While both names have been discussed for a possible presidential run in 2012, Barbour has said he will not make a decision until next spring, but has admitted that he is considering it.[4]


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