Treasurer Lynn Fitch details state debt issues - - Jackson, MS

Treasurer Lynn Fitch details state debt issues

Source: State Treasurer Source: State Treasurer
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Mississippi's economy is still lagging behind the national average and you, the taxpayer, may be on the hook for more of the state's bills than you realize.

Each time there's news of a major project, think Continental Tire or Topship, there's a good chance the state's decided to borrow money to help make it happen.

They're putting money on the state's credit card.

"Then the question is, so how much do we owe?" explained State Treasurer Lynn Fitch. "How much do we owe? If we owe $4.3 billion on our credit card, basically, we all owe $1,707 for state debt. We're responsible for that. That's every man, woman and child."

State Treasurer Lynn Fitch gave a rundown of where the state stands at the Stennis Press Luncheon Monday. She explained that Mississippi needs to get the debt under control.

The bond indebtedness has gone up by $1.3 billion in the last ten years.

"We need to be at each project before we ask the taxpayer to be responsible," noted Fitch. "We need to look at those projects in the sustainability and the links of the asset and determine if it's a project should go to another funding mechanism."

The legislature did not fully fund debt service for this fiscal year. Fitch is hopeful the deficit appropriation request will get approved. Mississippi could start running in the negative April 1 without it.

Fitch would have to tap into unused funds to keep the state from defaulting on its loans.

Another topic of discussion today was the college savings program known as MPACT. Fitch said it needs a cash infusion from the legislature to turn around its shortfall.

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