UPDATE:House panel OKs deficit bill for higher ed

The Associated Press

JACKSON – The 2 percent budget cut Gov. Haley Barbour ordered for Mississippi's public universities and community colleges would be restored under a bill approved Wednesday by a House committee.

House Appropriations Chairman Johnny Stringer, D-Montrose, said the full chamber would likely consider the bill later Wednesday.

Rep. Tommy Reynolds, D-Charleston, said the colleges can't survive without the $18 million in funding that was lost through the 2 percent cuts.

If approved, the money would help the colleges operate for the rest of fiscal year 2009, which ends June 30.

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The bill is House Bill 290.