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Bond Bill Headed to Governor’s Desk

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 02 Apr 2013 05:05am | comments

Mississippi lawmakers have approved adding $200 million dollars to the state's credit card for a variety of projects.  The majority of the borrowing is for the state's colleges and universities.

 The 400-page bill sailed through the legislature, with just 7 members in total opposing it.

 It includes $96 million for the state's universities, $25 million for community colleges and about $45 million for economic development projects.

 Lawmakers did not approve a bond bill last year.  According to Senate Finance chairman Joey Fillingane of Sumrall, this makes this bill even more rational and conservative.

"Over $700 million dollars over the past two years, we have either paid off or de-authorized, taken off the books so they won't ever be issued. We have only put on less than $200 million back on the books," said Filigane.

 The bill does include money for an expansion at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and a Grammy Music Museum in Cleveland among other projects.

 It does not include any borrowing for a newly unveiled stadium project that Jackson State University is proposing.

 That is why Representative Earl Banks of Jackson says he voted against the bill.

 "We have bonds going out for all kinds of other projects. I think a state institution [such] as Jackson State, which has gone without a stadium for the last 30 years, it is time for a stadium at Jackson State. So that is my protest vote against those bonds going out and Jackson State not being included," said Banks.

 Disagreement between the House and Senate prevented a bond bill last year.

 Speaker of the house Phillip Gunn says he is satisfied this time around.

 "Yes, I am pleased with the bond bill. I think the bond bill is very responsible and it is going toward good projects," said Gunn.

 The bill is now on its way to the Governor's desk.

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