Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on Tuesday submitted his final executive budget recommendations, and told legislators to curb spending for fiscal 2013 due to the state’s sluggish recovery.

His $5.48 billion general-fund budget recommends an average 2.9% spending reduction for most state agencies. It funds public schools at $2.178 billion, 1.43% below the current year.

Barbour recommended a 3.07% cut for universities, a 2.27% cut for colleges, and a 7.62% reduction in the Department of Public Safety and Highway Patrol.

“Do not expect significant increases in revenue or spending in the coming years,” he wrote to legislators. “Mississippi, like other states, continues to feel the crunch from the weak national economy.”

The Republican governor recommended a flat budget, or $21.2 million, for the Mississippi Development Authority to continue economic development efforts. He urged legislators to “resist old habits such as short-changing debt payments” and reducing funds for job creation.

He criticizes lawmakers for authorizing too much new debt. He didn’t include any specific ideas for new bond authorizations in fiscal 2013. Barbour’s second term ends Jan. 10. Lieut. Gov. Phil Bryant will replace him.

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