JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Governor Tate Reeves is unveiled his budget priorities Monday. It’s not a requirement for the legislature to follow that recommendation.
There’s more money available to budget with between the excess revenues and federal money coming in. But the Governor first removed money from agency budgets in his recommendation.
“We started with a 1% cut for every state agency,” explained Governor Tate Reeves. “We added that money from there and places like corrections where we knew that we needed it.”
So, let’s hit some of the spending high points.
On education, Reeves is proposing teacher pay raises but also paying for math coaches and funding of computer science training.
With safety, he’d like the Capitol Police Force doubled. And he’d like to direct $5 million to recruiting police officers to the state that he said may be leaving other states that have taken a “defund the police” approach.
Many other priorities fall under the economic umbrella. Workforce development is an area Reeves would like to plug in some of the federal funds.
“Do everything in my power to make it easier for Mississippians to provide for their families, and training them for the high paying jobs of the future is the best way we can do this,” noted Reeves.
And eliminating the income tax will, again, be an ask from the Governor. This time, he’d like some of the excess revenue to make it happen.
“So, that we can be more competitive with states like Florida, and Texas and Tennessee,” said Reeves of why legislation needs to be passed to eliminate the income tax in the upcoming session.
The budget recommendation uses $1.2 out of the state’s $1.8 billion share of ARPA or American Rescue Plan Act funding.
Senators started looking at how to use that funding Monday. While they had not had the opportunity to review the Govenor’s recommendations, it seems they may favor spacing out the use of those dollars.
“Our intent is to not spend all this in one year for several different reasons,” said Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann. “We’re not sure we can make really competent decisions in one year. Second of all, we don’t have the capacity to actually accomplish everything we would if we dumped it all in one year, we wouldn’t be able to do all of that in one year.
“And third, we need some time to see what’s working. A lot of times the Treasury Department kind of loosens regulations as they go along. So there are a lot of reasons not to just jump out and spend all of it in one year.”
“If we’re wise with the way we spend this money, we will kind of marry it into what we’re doing already,” noted Sen. Briggs Hopson. “And I think we can get more bang for the buck so to speak.”
Also within the executive budget recommendation is the Governor’s desire to see the legislature block critical race theory.
And there is a suggestion to move the state parks out from under Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Department.
For more on the recommendations and to read the full document, click HERE.
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