- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A look at some requests made by Mississippi government agencies during hearings of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee:

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The state Department of Health is requesting an additional $18.5 million to get through the current budget year, which ends June 30. The agency’s current budget is $385 million.

Dr. Mary Currier, the state health officer, says the department would consider closing some local clinics to trim expenses, if needed. She did not name specific sites that could be closed.

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Mississippi Development Authority is requesting a $7.7 million increase for economic development activities during fiscal 2017, which begins July 1. About $5.1 million of that would go toward tourism advertising and marketing.

MDA’s tourism director, Malcolm White, says Southeastern states are spending an average of $10 million a year on tourism promotion, and Mississippi is spending $4.9 million.

“Our competitors are just louder and more present than we are,” White said.

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The Department of Human Services is seeking an increase of $55.8 million for the coming year.

Director Rickey Berry says the biggest portion of that, $52.8 million, would be for improvements in the foster care system.

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