State Revenue Expected To IncreaseBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 10 Nov 2010 02:13pm |
For the first time in three years, Mississippi's state government is expected to have more money than it did the year before. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports budget writers say, the increase will not be enough to stave off agency cuts.
Lawmakers gathered at the capitol Tuesday in budget meetings, were told that slow growth in the economy should give the state about .7-percent more money in 20-12 than it did in this fiscal year. That means lawmakers will have just over four-and-a-half billion dollars to work with. Lt. Governor Phil Bryant said that budgeting state agencies will be difficult.
“I’ve always said be very conservative in project your revenue. Project it on the low side. And that way if we do have additional revenue come in than we can always move it to the next year or we can come back and fund agencies at a higher level,” Bryant said.
Since early 2008, Mississippi has lost nearly 75-thousand jobs. If the state continues to see slow growth, economists say those jobs won't be back until 20-15.
But even with a the slight increase in revenue, speaker of the state house Billy McCoy sees it as a good sign
“We certainly are. In other words, anytime we have growth in a time when we have been going backwards it is encouraging,” McCoy said.
Governor Haley Barbour spoke to the Legislative Budget Committee by phone Tuesday, and was skeptical about long term growth. He predicts more than a half-a-billion dollar budget shortfall and another 10-percent in government budget cuts. Warren County Representative George Flaggs, Jr. says any more cuts could impact state services.
“In public health, public education and public safety. And those are the cornerstones to state government; provide adequate and quality service in those areas,” Flaggs said.
Lawmakers on the committee broadly agree that tax hikes will not be part of the 2012 budget.
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