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Bryant: 1.5 percent cuts for most Miss. agencies

Associated Press Published: November 14, 2012

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is proposing that most state agencies take a 1.5 percent budget cut during fiscal 2014, which begins next July 1.

Republican Bryant released his $5.8 billion spending plan Wednesday at the Capitol. It's 2.3 percent larger than the current year's budget of nearly $5.7 billion.

Legislative leaders release their own fiscal 2014 plan Dec. 11, and there's an April 1 deadline for the House and Senate to adopt a budget.

Bryant also recommended level funding for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, the complex funding formula for schools.

And he is seeking an additional $24 million for specific education programs, including $15 million for literacy training for teachers. Bryant wants more emphasis on ensuring children can read at grade-level standards by third grade.

"Mississippi cannot continue to allow the status quo social promotion of these children just to move them along the assembly line," Bryant said.

He would exempt several parts of government from cuts, including public safety programs, the National Guard and University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Legislators have a long tradition of ignoring governors' budgets, but many say they'll examine Bryant's plan.

"If he's got good ideas, we'll look at them," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville.

Experts said this week that the state is expected to collect just over $5 billion in revenue during fiscal 2014. The governor and legislators generally expand the budget by dipping into reserves and using sources of money that are available only one year at a time, such as payments from lawsuit settlements.

Bryant said his budget would reduce the amount of "one-time money" by $93 million.

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