FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2004
Statement of Governor Haley Barbour: Action on Senate Bill 2325
“Facing an unprecedented budget crisis, a main goal for the 2005 Legislative Session must be to rebase Mississippi’s budget and get state spending back in line with state revenue; however, the first bill of the Session to reach my desk for consideration this year is one authorizing a deficit appropriation. I don’t want this to mislead the public.
SB 2325 addresses the needs of our veteran nursing homes. The bill appropriates funding to pay debts from FY 03, FY 04, and to operate the agency for the rest of FY 05. This funding is important.
Even more important and critical to my support for this bill is the strong assurance I have received from Flick Ash, Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Board, and legislative leaders that spending at the veterans nursing homes has been brought under control and savings are being instituted to prevent such a deficit in the future. State taxpayers are entitled to know this deficit appropriation is not business as usual. It is the first step toward making the savings needed to operate this excellent program on a financially sound and substantial cost basis.
The deadline for action on SB 2325 is today, but I am in Washington, D.C. today representing the State of Mississippi at the President’s Inauguration. I have asked Lt. Governor Tuck, who is designated by statute as the acting Governor in my absence, to sign the bill today and she has graciously agreed.”
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