State has tough budget choices Kudos to five members of Natchez’s legislative delegation, who pledged Monday morning not to cut funding for education.

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Reps. David Green, Sam Mims and Robert Johnson, as well as Sens. Bob Dearing and Kelvin Butler &045; four Democrats and one Republican &045; all said education is too closely tied to the future of economic development to be cut again.

But while we appreciate their support for education, we also realize that Mississippi is in an extremely tight spot. Not only is funding for education in danger, but funding for a variety of other areas &045; such as healthcare and recreation &045; is also in peril.

On Monday, state Medicaid officials announced they only have money to pay claims through March 11 &045; and that’s only because they got a $50 million line of credit.

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Lawmakers are talking about closing state parks and even selling the state’s public broadcasting system.

We’re in dire times.

And that calls for desperate measures. The way local lawmakers put it Monday morning at the chamber of commerce’s legislative breakfast, it might come down to a choice between making drastic cuts such as closing state parks and firing hundreds of state employees or raising taxes.

We don’t envy our elected officials, but we do believe they need to start making some tough choices and taking action. It’s a tough time for our state, but it gets even tougher when they delay.