Policymakers across the country are beginning to come to terms with the fact that the budgets they recently passed depended on revenue that may never materialize. The Mississippi Economic Policy Center (MEPC) reports that state revenue for the first two months of the fiscal year that started July 1 is already $31.5 million below projections. Governor Barbour, anticipating further reductions in available revenue, announced $171.9 million in cuts -- the vast majority of which are cuts to the state's education budget (this despite Education Week giving the state a D+ in terms of overall education in their Quality Counts report.)
In their latest budget brief, MEPC urges a balanced approach to solving the state's upcoming fiscal shortfall, "To rely solely on cuts would further hurt the economy... Furthermore, cuts – especially to the state’s educational systems - jeopardize the state’s ability to prepare its workforce to compete in today’s economy." We couldn't agree more.