State Lawmakers Up Revenue EstimatesBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 21 Mar 2013 04:39pm |
A group of key Mississippi lawmakers is increasing the amount of money that the state is estimated to have to spend in the next fiscal year. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports the lawmakers rejected an increase fr the current fiscal year.
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee is adding another 97-million dollars to the estimated state revenue for fiscal year 20-14 which begins July first.
The addition brings he total estimate to just over 5-and-a-half billion dollars.
However, Senators on the committee rejected an attempt to increase the estimate for the current fiscal year by 60-million dollars.
Lt. Governor Tate Reeves says the economy is still too fragile to increase the estimate.
"You listen to national economist and you hear a number of them say that the second quarter of calendar year 2013 is going to be very,very slow economic growth," Reeves said.
The House appropriations chairman Herb Frierson of Poplarville says he thinks the revenue should be added to the current fiscal year and be used to cover a roughly 60-million dollar shortfall in existing state agency budgets.
"We will have to spend down more of our cash reserves to pay the deficits. In other words we will have to use 60-million of our cash reserves to pay the approximate 60-million in deficits unpaid right now," Frierson said.
The revenue will still come into the state government....If the additional revenue is not spent the un-appropriated money be split between the cash reserves and capitol improvements for government buildings.
The increase is also an opportunity for Democrats who want the state to increase spending on education and mental health.
Democratic Representative Johnny Stringer of Montrose is a former appropriations chairman.
"It is a good sign because the economy is improving. It is a bad sign when the governor has to cut budgets. But we are in a mode now when the economy is moving forward and it is good to have new estimates," Stringer said.
State lawmakers face an early April deadline to finish writing a budget.
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