Legislative Budget Committee wants to spend less next year - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Legislative Budget Committee wants to spend less next year

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

There may be more wiggle room in Mississippi's budget this year and different groups are weighing in on how to spend it. The state's expected to take in more money, but the Joint Legislative Budget committee would like to spend less than last year.

Speaker Philip Gunn says it's far from set in stone.

"This is just a starting point," explained Gunn. "It's just a recommendation."

Lt. Governor Tate Reeves says once the rainy day fund is full, more money may become available.

"We'll end up with a budget that's really similar in size to where we are this year," said Reeves. "But with some additional opportunities to enhance spending on our priorities."

It's not the first budget blueprint. Governor Bryant released his last month. Both proposals want an increase to MAEP funding because of teacher pay raises. Yet the committee's plan is still about 280 million short of the school funding formula.

"Many people believe when they use the phrase MAEP they're talking about total ed funding and that is not correct," countered Gunn. "We have given, as I said, 364 more million dollars over the last three years for total ed funding."

Public Safety's budget would increase but by more if the legislative committee gets its way. That accounts for the recent trooper class graduating and entering the force. District Attorneys would also get more funding if the legislature follows either plan.

Senator Hob Bryan says the Democrats will present an alternative plan Thursday. He was still steaming after Tuesday's presentation.

"They're putting money in the bank and claiming somehow that's good management to build up these huge amounts of money in the bank while leaving children uneducated and while leaving roads crumbling." described Bryan.

The 13-member committee wants to save money by deleting vacant state jobs and reducing travel. The legislative session starts next month. There will be more debates on the budget before the early April deadline.

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