JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The 2017 state budget could mean big cuts for state agencies.
The budget will total $6,350,000,000.
But, some agencies can expect cuts ranging from two to twelve percent.
The Mississippi State Department of Health expects their cut to be one of the biggest.
Inside the State Department of Health, Dr. Mary Currier is already holding meetings trying to figure out how the department will adjust to a budget cut of 13.6% or 5 million dollars.
“We’re going to have to look at everything we do and how we do it and dramatically change the things that we do. And there are things that we will no longer be doing because of this budget cut,” Dr. Mary Currier, the State Health Officer of the Mississippi State Department of Health.
The health department already has a deficit from the fiscal year 2016.
Eighty-three people were let go and they closed nine clinics.
There are another 89 open jobs that were never filled.
This round of cuts means dropping some services
and longer wait times on things like water and restaurant inspections.
Despite the state being first in infant mortality, that program will most likely be cut.
Representative Greg Snowden says lawmakers have worked to keep agencies above their bottom line but says it’s a tough budget year.
“Now, are they happy about it? Of course not. No one would expect them to be. But, it’s something we’re all going to have to adjust to in this budget year,” said Representative Snowden
Democrats met on the capitol steps today to address unmet needs in the state, specifically infrastructure and education.
“Mississippians know that our public schools about underfunded to the tune of $1,800,000 over the past five years. But this leadership has found ways to cut corporate taxes of the same amount anyways,” said Representative David Barria, a Democrat of District 122.
For Dr. Currier, it’s frustrating.
“Absolutely. Because this is something I care about and this agency does well with is real public health,” said Dr. Currier.
Currier is afraid as funding for programs lag, we could see a resurgence of disease in the state.
She specifically brought up tuberculosis. Though, those numbers have been low for nearly two decades.
Other things she’s worried about are syphilis in children and the Zika virus becoming more prevalent in the state.