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Lt. Gov. Reeves Calls for “Fiscal Responsibility”

By Daniel Cherry | Published 01 Feb 2012 07:55pm | comments

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves says fiscal responsibility is one of the top items on his legislative agenda. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how Reeves released his plans for the legislature at the state Capitol.

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves says reducing government waste, spending responsibly, and reforming education will make Mississippi more fiscally sound. The state budget is facing more cuts in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1st. Reeves says it's hard to tell how big any cuts are going to be until revenue estimates are in.

"It's impossible to start splitting up the pie until you know how large it is. Once we get a revenue estimate, we'll know. We saw positive results in January in terms of revenue collections, but we're truly still uncertain as to exactly what's going to happen from a revenue standpoint to know how much we're going to do."

Millions of dollars in stimulus money are now gone, leaving a big hole in the state's revenue. Terry Brown is the President Pro Temp of the Senate. He says lawmakers have some big decisions to make this session.

"There's no doubt in my mind that this is going to be the toughest budget year that we've had. We knew it was coming. We've been planning for it as best we could by holding back on some of the rainy day fund money, some of the health care trust money. We're probably going to have to spend every bit of that this time."

A key point of Lieutenant Governor Reeves' agenda is reducing the state's bond debt. Democratic Representative Bobby Moak is the House Minority leader. He says interest rates for bonds are extremely low, and in these tough times bonds can be a smart move.

"A lot of people like to say, 'Oh if we do bonds, we're just putting this on the backs of our children.' To a degree that's so, but is it cheaper to do the bonds today or put it on the backs of our children to repair all of these university buildings 10 years down the road."

Moak says cuts at the state level will likely trickle down to local government and that could mean higher taxes for some Mississippians. 

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