Governor's State Budget for Next Year
HATTIESBURG, MISS. - Governor, Phil Bryant released his budget recommendations for next year earlier this week, and only a select few agencies will see any kind of increase. Some would say the governor is being overly cautious, and some say it is flat. "I don't think it's potentially another tight year. It's going to be another tight year," Mississippi's state senator, John Polk said. "We have not seen the income growth we hoped we would, and the governor's budget serves more as a blueprint of where would like to go." The projections from the governor serve as a guideline for what residents of Mississippi can expect in the next year. One particular eye-popping fact is the lack of revenue within the state. "Mississippi sometimes lags behind the nation a couple of years in growth projections" senator, Polk said. "They're looking down a couple years and still predicting it to be flat." "Our state economist told us Mississippi has some challenges that some other states don't have," Mississippi's state senator, Joey Fillingane said. "We are the poorest state in the union, and we have a workforce that is not as highly skilled or trained." According to Fillingane, this makes it hard for Mississippi to attract high paying jobs within the state. Senator Fillingane also mentioned another issue within Mississippi. "The other challenge we have is there's a lot of unhealthy people with the state of Mississippi," senator Fillingane said. "I just saw a report that shows Mississippi is the most obese state in the nation and with that comes a lot of extra health care costs." Which according to senator Fillingane is running the state low on funds. However, despite the flat predictions, Fillingane says what happens in Washington, D.C. will be a big factor on what happens in the state. "We would rather start off with very conservative figures, very conservative revenue projections. Then hopefully, because of increase in economic activity on the national front Mississippi will not have to experience mid-year budget cuts." Fillingane said. "With a pass of the tax reform bill in Washington, and even possibly an infrastructure, which I think will be their next item of business... if they are successful in getting the tax reform bill passed... I think you will see a lot of dollars flooding in all the states including Mississippi." The Mississippi Legislature will go into session in January and have three months to work on the budget.