Cutting budget needs to be done with care

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mississippi’s wise legislative leaders have preached on the need to cut the state’s budget for years. This year the Republican supermajority did just that with razor-like stupidity.

They slashed the budget pretty much across the board, but didn’t think — or didn’t care — about the fallout.

Now the state’s less fortunate are starting to feel the pain of those cuts.

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Unfortunately, the cuts are hitting some of our most needy residents at their most vulnerable times — the families of mentally ill residents who are now being turned away from the state mental facilities due to budget cuts.

Due to millions of dollars in budget reductions by our clearly gifted lawmakers, the state’s mental health personnel recently advised Adams County that the state would no longer accept patients with major mental disorders as well as male patients admitted for drug and alcohol dependency.

Since our area of the state has no alternative, cities and counties are scrambling for ideas of how to handle the severely mentally ill.

These people are not criminals and thus do not deserve to be locked up in jail. Sadly, however, that may wind up being the short-term answer.

For wealthier Mississippi families, they can afford to seek out private facilities, but for the rest of our state’s residents who have a mentally ill relative or loved one, they’re just out of luck.

We’re all for cutting the state’s budget in areas that make sense — first on our list would be the pay and all of the special “privileged” benefits lawmakers are provided.

Real leaders would not have cut serious state services such as mental health without having a plan for how to handle the fallout. We can only hope voters remember this during the next election season.