Lawmakers say Barbour's too secretive on stimulus

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Several lawmakers say it’s been difficult to get information from Republican Gov. Haley Barbour on how he’s spending nearly $50 million remaining in federal stimulus money he’s allowed to use at his own discretion.

Barbour’s office didn’t release details about this year’s allocation of his discretionary fund to The Associated Press until AP filed a request through Mississippi public records laws.

The information provided by his office shows the governor already has allocated $43.7 million to various programs.

Democratic Sen. David Blount says that kind of information is needed as lawmakers craft a budget.

Barbour spokeswoman Laura Hipp says the Joint Legislative Budget Committee was briefed about the governor’s discretionary fund months ago. She says updated information was provided within the past week.