/Supreme Court upholds governor’s mid-year budget cut authority

Supreme Court upholds governor’s mid-year budget cut authority

The unanimous decision by the Supreme Court, made up of nine members, was released Thursday. It upheld Patricia Wise’s decision as Hinds County Chancellor. She had previously rejected the lawsuit filed in the name of Sen. John Horhn (D-Jackson) and Rep. Bryant Clark (D-Pickens). Clark and Horhn were questioning whether the state law giving the governor the power to cut the budget mid-year, provided that revenue collections fall below the amount appropriated for by the Legislature, was constitutional. Robert Chamberlin, Supreme Court Justice, wrote the unanimous decision. He stated that the Constitution grants the governor the core power to control state agencies’ budgets. The Supreme Court argued that the Constitution’s separations of powers gives the Legislature the power to appropriate but it is the duty of the executive to ensure that revenue comes in to pay for those appropriations. In the law at issue, the Legislature outlined the steps the governor had to take to ensure a balanced budget, even if revenue was not in line with projections. Will Bardwell, an attorney for Jackson and the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed the lawsuit after Gov. Due to a revenue shortfall, Phil Bryant made several rounds of budget cuts during fiscal year 2017. The governor cut $20 million from the Adequate Education Program to provide the state’s share in basic education to local school districts. These funds should be returned to local school districts, according to the lawsuit.