Senate Appropriations Chairman Doug Davis Discusses the 2012 Budget at the Stennis Press LuncheonBy Lawayne Childrey | Published 07 Mar 2011 12:33pm |
Mississippi lawmakers are in the final few weeks of the 2011 legislative session and the question of how to appropriate the state's 5 billion dollar budget still remains unanswered. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports one of the main sticking points is expected to be the Mississippi Adequate Education Program which is the equity funding plan for K-12 schools.
School districts across the state won’t see an additional 65 million dollars in funding this year. That's because last year’s additional funding was part of the federal jobs bill. Senate appropriations Chairman Doug Davis.
"It was adopted in August of last year, by that time districts had approved that budgets, contracts had been signed for teachers and children were in classrooms. So that's why I continue to believe a large portion of that money will be available for next year."
Davis made those comments at yesterdays Stennis Press luncheon. But it left Jackson School Board member Dr. George Schimmel with lots of concerns.
"Some districts may be faced with laying off teachers. Some districts may be faced with laying off other personnel whether it's janitors or whether its security or other employees who make the district work. So it will make it more difficult for many districts to succeed in teaching their students,"
As lawmakers are challenged with ways to fully fund a whole host of agencies including education, healthcare even public safety. Ed Sevak, Director of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center says what is really needed, is a balanced approach to the state’s budget that includes raising revenues instead of taking a cuts only approach.
"There's lots of ways that we can do that you know one example is we could do it by closing corporate loopholes, bringing in more revenue. We could modernize our sales tax, we could update our income tax. There's lots of ways to do it, Again the important thing is to look for a providing a balanced approach."
Lawmakers have until the first of April to adopt a budget for the fiscal year that begins July first.
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