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Chaos and Compromise - The Evolution of the Mississippi Budgeting Process

Chaos and Compromise

The Evolution of the Mississippi Budgeting Process

By Brian A. Pugh
Foreword by Ronny Frith
Hardcover : 9781496830197, 214 pages, October 2020
Paperback : 9781496830241, 214 pages, October 2020

A thorough assay of the painstaking process that delivers a state budget


Chaos and Compromise: The Evolution of the Mississippi Budgeting Process takes the topic of budgeting and makes it exciting, and not just for political junkies. Instead of focusing on numbers, this book looks at the policymakers responsible for the budget. Brian A. Pugh provides a historical perspective on the decisions and actions of legislators and governors going back more than a century.

Pugh reviews how Mississippi’s budget making evolved and sifts legislation and litigation as well as those legislators and governors responsible for developing this process. Pugh explains in detail the significant actions taken by the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government that affected Mississippi’s procedures. Significant legislation covered includes the passage of Senate Bill 356, which gave the governor the authority to prepare and submit a budget recommendation in 1918; the passage of the Administrative Reorganization Act of 1984; the passage of the Budget Reform Act of 1992; and the passage of the Financial and Operational Responses That Invigorate Future Years Act (FORTIFY) during the First Extraordinary Session of 2017. The first two chapters provide a historical perspective and give the reader an understanding of how legislation and litigation contributed. The book also covers interventions by the courts, which led to the unprecedented separation of powers case Alexander v. State of Mississippi by and Through Allain (1983).

In addition to discussing important laws and legislators, Pugh takes a detailed look at six of Mississippi’s recent governors—Bill Allain, Ray Mabus, Kirk Fordice, Ronnie Musgrove, Haley Barbour, and Phil Bryant—to examine their methods for getting the legislature to include their ideas in the often anguished process of making a budget.


"Dr. Pugh did a remarkable job explaining this critical issue. Every elected official needs a copy of this book to be THE source for budgeting guidance. No matter how long they have been in office or dealt with budgets, this book will take them to a new level of understanding of how public money is spent."

- Governor Phil Bryant

"In Chaos and Compromise, Dr. Brian Pugh has examined the arcane history and complicated intricacies of Mississippi’s state budget process. Relying on his hands-on experience both in the Mississippi governor’s office and with the legislative budget staff, Pugh traces the legislative and political histories of the budget process using real-life examples to illustrate his points. Of particular interest are his descriptions of the natural tensions that often exist between the legislative and executive branches of government as they struggle to allocate scarce resources among competing public needs. In doing so, he has rendered an invaluable service to historians, elected officials, and students of Mississippi government."

- Cecil Brown, former executive director of the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration, former member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, former Mississippi public service commissioner

"Dr. Pugh has successfully intertwined the story of how Mississippi state government budgets are born with the historical human-interest stories that make them relevant. He worked countless hours to make sure the story was accurate, even though much of the negotiating in the budget process is done behind closed doors! Students of Mississippi politics should treasure this piece of recorded history."

- Laura Jackson, chief financial officer at Mississippi College, former state fiscal officer, former executive director of the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration