State budget battle still brewing past the legislative session - - Jackson, MS

State budget battle still brewing past the legislative session

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

The state budget is approved, but some agency heads say the state's could spend a decade trying to correct some controversial changes.

"They ran this through at the last minute," said State Auditor Stacey Pickering. "They didn't get input from agency heads, directors and others elected to office."

A bill labeled the Budget Transparency and Simplification Act stops state agencies from paying one another for various services--like rent or IT, for example.
It also moves some special funds into the general fund. 

"We did the right thing because in the long term, transparency and accountability in government is what the taxpayers deserve," explained Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves. "And what you hear from some elected officials is they don't want you to know about their off-budget spending."

But State Auditor Stacey Pickering explained that before agencies had to detail special fund expenses. 

"There's no incentive for them to manage their budget more closely so they can be better stewards of the taxpayer dollars," said Pickering.

"It's all about the cover-up of the budget busting corporate tax cuts that they gave and they're trying to sweep all these funds from victims and hundred firefighters in law-enforcement officers, all these funds to cover up that budget hole," noted Attorney General Jim Hood.

The Attorney General has researched and discovered that more than 70 million dollars in "special funds" won't be flowing into the general fund. They're considered to be trust funds which are exempt from the swipe in the new law.

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