Budget estimates continue to cause concerns in Jackson as the legislature works on the budget for next year -- fiscal year 2010 (FY10). The budget estimating committee reported on Friday to the Governor and revised State revenue estimates DOWN by $400 million for FY10.
The legislature will have to find ways to increase revenues (ie, cigarette tax) and/or reduce funding to programs. It looks like education funding will be OK because of the stimulus package and the requirement that some 80% of the "state stablization funds" help fund education at no less than current levels. Yet, as they say, the "devil is in the details" and we've yet to see the details from the federal government. We've seen how the Governor is willing to turn down federal stimulus money if it comes with too many strings -- future unfunded mandates.
So, the legislature is in a tough spot trying to fund all the State program and balance the budget in the existing economic climate.