Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Performance Budgeting: "Kill 'em all and let Herb sort 'em out"

Last Wednesday, the House passed HB 1170, a measure characterized as a routine transfer bill that would shore up the general fund with dollars from the state savings account and shore up the savings account with money from special funds.  In the last minute frenzy to stay ahead of Thursday's deadline, the details of this little transaction were lost.  Here's some of the damage:

  •  The Hurricane Disaster Reserve Fund was hit for over $28 million to prop up the General Fund;
  • The following special funds were raided for the purpose of building the Budget Contingency Fund. The amount taken is in parentheses, and this is not an exhaustive list:
    • Board of Cosmetology ($72,903)
    • Board of Psychology ($69,499)
    • Board of Dental Examiners ($643,109)
    • Board of Medical Licensure ($2,066,772)
    • Board of Massage Therapy ($147,679)
    • Board of Optometry ($50,776)
    • State Fire Academy ($737,975)
    • Board of Veterinary Medicine ($39,899)
    • Board of Funeral Services ($291,903)
    • Board of Contractors ($1,018,580)
    • Board of Examiners for Licensed Professional Counselors ($150,622)
    • Board of Nursing Home Administrators ($246,873)
    • Board of Physical Therapy ($311,929)
    • Board of Nursing ($5,257,141)
    • Board of Barber Examiners ($12,437)
    • Board of Engineers and Land Surveyors ($917,099)
    • Board of Public Accountancy ($37,661)
    • Board of Pharmacy ($409, 965)
    • Board of Architecture ($191,909)
    • Board of Chiropractic Examiners ($92,166)
    • Department of Marine Resources ($445,593)
    • Mississippi Coast Coliseum ($2,938,884)
    • Highway Patrol ($1,788,210)
    • Department of Public Safety Council on Aging ($268,900)
    • Department of Insurance ($12,978,368)
This measure passed with surprisingly little explanation from the bill's author, Rep. Herb Frierson (R-Poplarville), but I'm sure the newly minted Appropriations Chairman explained to Mississippi's cosmetologist, psychologist, dentists, massage therapists, optometrists, fire fighters, veterinarians, funeral directors, contractors, counselors, nursing home administrators, physical therapists, nurses, barbers, engineers, surveyors, accountants, pharmacists, architects, chiropractors, highway patrolmen, elderly people, the citizens of the Gulf Coast, and Mike Chaney that if they want to hold on to their money under the new regime, they'll have to step up their game.

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