Friday, January 20, 2017

Hood defends his budget request

Attorney General Jim Hood issued the following press release:

AG Hood Outlines Budget Needs in Letter to Legislative Leaders

JACKSON— Attorney General Jim Hood sent the attached letter to legislative leaders this week, outlining the fiscal 2018 budget needs for the Attorney General’s Office. AG Hood called on legislators to fund anticipated expenses to defend the state against the U.S. Department of Justice’s mental health lawsuit. He again warned that the Crime Victim Compensation Fund and Law Enforcement and Firefighters Disability Fund would run out of money without legislative action to support those vital services.

Here is the text of the Attorney General’s letter:

Our FY 2018 budget request consists of the following two funding sources; General Funds $32,550,031 and Federal Funds $5,577,872. The General Fund request includes funding to replace Other Special Funds lost as a result of the SB 2362 legislation passed during last year's session. Also, the Crime Victim Compensation assistance payments and Law Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters Disability Benefit payments are now part of this General Fund request.

Since Other Funds and Spending Authority from assessments, legal services billings and other revenues have been eliminated as a funding source for this office, our General Fund appropriation is critical. Historically, these Other Funds have comprised about $23 million and funded 67% of this office.

I would like to emphasize the other programs that will now require General Funds rather than Special Funds to continue operations. They include Cyber Crime and Internet Crimes Against Children, Vulnerable Persons Investigation and Prosecution, Child Support Prosecution, State Agency Legal Representation, State Prosecutor Training and Education, Domestic Violence Training, Workers' Compensation Fraud Investigations, Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement, Medicaid Fraud Control federal match support, Consumer Protection, and Children's Advocacy Centers of Mississippi.

In addition to these programs, our FY 2018 General Fund request includes $750,000 to handle a portion of the costs associated with the Olmstead and Olivia Y litigation. As you are aware, we received a complaint filed by the United States Department of Justice against the State of Mississippi under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999). Due to the complex nature of this litigation, we have retained the services of Phelps Dunbar LLP to assist our Civil Litigation Division in representing the State. In the comparable Olivia Y. Case concerning insufficiencies in Mississippi's foster care system, the State has incurred $20 million in attorneys' fees, expenses and expert fees since FY 2005. We are
anticipating that the law firm of Baker Donelson, PC will continue to be retained as a federal court monitor in FY 2018 and will continue to maintain a presence at the Department of Human Services and work with the plaintiff firm.

The Legislative Budget Office (LBO) recommendation of $26,231,968 in General Funds is $6,318,063 below what is necessary to perform the vital duties of this office. Should this recommendation become our General Fund appropriation in FY 2018, we will be forced to suspend the Crime Victim Compensation and Law Enforcement Officers & Fire Fighters Disability payments until additional funding can be secured. This will cause a tremendous hardship on crime victims, first responders and their families. I respectfully ask for the funding necessary to keep these programs solvent. It is extremely important that we continue to meet the financial obligations of those who have become victims of violent crime and the first responders who protect our lives and secure our safety.

In addition, we will have to discontinue support to the Children's Advocacy Centers of Mississippi, an organization that trains forensic interviewers in child abuse and child sexual abuse cases and trains law enforcement officers and prosecutors about child abuse cases.

Further, the LBO General Fund recommendation will affect staffing levels and services in other critical programs including Vulnerable Persons Investigation and Prosecution, Cyber Crime and Internet Crimes Against Children, State Agency Legal Representation, Prosecutor Education, and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit if adequate federal matching funds are not available.

And finally, we will be unable to pay any legal bills submitted by the law firms handling the Olmstead and Olivia Y litigation. These payments will be delayed until a deficit appropriation can be obtained resulting in these firms having to wait eleven months for payment of any invoices.

In addition to my recommendations on budget, my general legislative agenda will include proposals to strengthen the state's human trafficking laws, clarify campaign finance rules, protect victims of sexual assault, provide an opportunity for Mississippians to vote before Election Day and help stem the tide of the opioid epidemic sweeping across our state. Passage of these proposals will not only promote good government, but will establish laws that will protect Mississippi citizens.

At your convenience, I would like to meet with you and answer any questions about my budget recommendations or my legislative proposals. Thank you for your consideration of these measures.


Anonymous said...

Legislature should request an itemization of FY 2016 and FY 2017 monies expended to support his personal remote office and then cut that amount from any FY 2018 funding for his office.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone complain about Pickering living in Laurel? How many days a week does he make it to the office?

Anonymous said...

Still not understanding why state agencies must request appropriations for funds transferred to other state agencies. For example, why must agencies pay rent to DFA for buildings owned by the state, and why do agencies have to pay fees for Special Assistant Attorneys General who are assigned to them (I know there must be hundreds of other examples)? Somebody please explain this to me, this seems very much like renting a house to myself that I already own, and paying my wife a fee to make mortgage payments.

It seems that cutting out the middleman would eliminate wasteful and unnecessary additional handling of funds and the staff required to do so.

Anonymous said...

10:52 AM

Its a budgetary accounting method.

Anonymous said...

11:04, that I understand, but it's costly and wasteful. There are other ways to maintain strong and transparent accountability without all of the added expense.

Anonymous said...

10:52, it is a way of spreading money to family and friends. The more ways any govt. agencies can move money around the more chances there will be ways of making money disappear.
Simply put it is a way of wasting and stealing money.

Anonymous said...

Hood, you had me at "Child Support Prosecution." MAGA.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Trump is a quick study, the stock market was at its lowest of the day at the end of his speech. When you spit out rhectic about protectionism thats what happens. If he isn't and the country starts to suffer it will take some courageous Republicans to call it out.

When the Republicans began to understand the damage that's occurring, I pray that the Democrats don't wait too long to help them out.

A lot of people are questioning the legality of Kusher being an advisor. It probably is Un ethical but given his pompous ego and need for agreement we should allow this exception.

Hopefully he and Ivanka can keep him focoused, if not we are in trouble.

Anonymous said...

11:46 - it is not more expensive, its all done as a transaction on the books.

The reason for it is so that one can know what a service actually costs the state to provide. To pretend that a state agency does not have 'cost' for such things as office space, or attorney services, or IT services is kidding onself.

Yes, its a paper transaction. But by charging rent for the nine-story building on State Street (for example) it reflects what the state spends for providing all those Department of Human Services programs. Or the DEQ space on State and on Amite - without having to pay for office space the cost of testing water wells, or ensuring compliance with water regulations would be underreported.

Its called - good accounting.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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