By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press
JACKSON — The Mississippi Senate has given final approval to a change in the state’s budget-writing process.
The change is in House Concurrent Resolution 33, which sets the Legislature’s operating rules for the four-year term that started last month.
Under one new rule, any legislator who wants to add money to a state program must say specifically which other agency’s budget they’d cut to find the extra cash. The legislator could not request that money be pulled from financial reserves, even if there are hundreds of millions in reserve.
Supporters say the change brings more transparency to budgeting. Opponents say it severely limits the ability of rank-and-file members to try to put more money into programs such as education.
Mississippi was already required to have a balanced annual budget.