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Lawmakers approve measure aimed at reducing state's debt

JACKSON — The Mississippi Senate today passed legislation that would direct additional funds to pay off state debt and move toward reducing the state’s total debt, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves announced.

“We need to get control of the state’s debt, and this bill is one way we can do that and be responsible stewards of taxpayers’ money,” Reeves said. “Getting control of our debt means less money will have to be spent each year to pay debt service. With fewer tax dollars going to pay debt, we can spend more on our priorities like education and public safety.”

Senate Bill 2343 modifies repayments to a revolving loan fund at the Mississippi Development Authority, which is funded through bonds authorized by the Legislature. Currently, repayments of these bonds do not go toward debt service, but instead are recaptured by the revolving loan program. Senate Bill 2343 caps the program at $50 million and uses any repayments in excess of $50 million to pay debt service. MDA continues to rely on the $50 million program to lure economic development projects to Mississippi while easing the state’s debt burden.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Joey Fillingane, is part of Reeves’ legislative agenda for the 2012 session.

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