Mississippi Lawmakers Working to Finalize Budget

By: Courtney Ann Jackson Email
By: Courtney Ann Jackson Email

Jackson, Miss. There are a couple of factors that combined to push the revenue numbers up in Mississippi. Some money is from settlements attained through actions taken by the attorney general's office. The rest is from an expected increase in corporate tax collections.

You may think more money in the bank means more to spend. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves had words of warning about that for the crowded room at the Legislative Budget Committee meeting.

“We're not going to be able to fund everything that everybody wants," Reeves said. "And in fact, some of you are going to think we're not going to be able to fund everything that you need.”

The committee got positive news in Tuesday's presentation. The state economy has done well for the past several months. The revenue projections were readjusted to reflect that.

“A motion and a second to adopt $5.37 billion and some change,” said Reeves.

The committee added nearly $150 million to this year's revenue estimate and another $98 million for next year. It helps lawmakers get a better idea on what will be available.

“With these new numbers, it allows them more flexibility to discuss what can be done," said House Speaker Philip Gunn. "But I will say there are a lot of things we are trying to do and yet stay within our means.”

So where does that leave the programs we've heard most about this session, like teacher pay raises?

“We're still having very productive conversations, the Speaker and I and our leadership teams on the education committee," Reeves said. "So I think one of our goals is once we come to an agreement on what the increase in teacher pay is going to be, that we properly fund it.”

What about a new trooper school?

“That is something certainly we in the House have been pushing for," Gunn said. "With this new estimate, we'll just have to see how those dollars unfold.”

While differences exist, both Gunn and Reeves are preaching the same budget sermon, trying reduce the use of one time money.

Saturday is the deadline for lawmakers to finalize the more than 100 spending proposals.


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