Battle begins about state budget proposals - - Jackson, MS

Battle begins about state budget proposals

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Squeezing it all in for the state budget. Lawmakers don't go back to the State Capitol until next month but the debate has already started.

Exactly how much of your taxpayer money goes in the pot for education is a sticking point in the battle of budget proposals. Democrats weren't pleased with this answer from legislative leaders Tuesday.

"We have given, as I said, 364 more million dollars over the last three years for total ed funding," explained Speaker Philip Gunn-R at the Legislative Budget Committee presentation.

Democrats are taking issue with that.

"We're not funding basic education," said Rep. Cecil Brown-D. "That money is available."

"It's absolutely surreal to hear individuals say education is a priority," added Sen. Hob Bryan. "To say that we've got three percent revenue growth and to propose a budget which cuts public education, cuts community colleges and cuts universities."

The budget committee said they were suggesting a $32 million dollar increase. That was listed as the amount for the approved teacher pay raise. But Senator Hob Bryan says that's "$8 million short".

Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Governor Tate Reeves are fighting back saying they were told $32 million would be the cost. They said in a statement: “There should be no doubt that the Legislature will honor its commitment to teachers.”

The democratic proposal includes $40 million for teacher pay raises and more money for MAEP. Other priorities on the democratic budget proposal include: a thousand dollar raise for state employees and more money for maintaining highways.

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