JACKSON — A bond package that would have provided funding for repairs and new construction across Mississippi died when a Saturday deadline passed, though the legislature continued making strides yesterday to finish the budget process.
Republican Lt. Gov Tate Reeves held his line this weekend, demanding a smaller bond package than the $250 million proposal by House leaders. Reeves told reporters he was trying to keep a promise to voters to keep down the state’s debt.
“In these tough economic times, it is not right to burden the taxpayers with significantly more debt,” Reeves said. “Not only is it not right, it’s not fiscally prudent when we’re trying to get our balance sheet and our income statement under control.”
House Ways and Means chair Jeff Smith, R-Columbus, said Gov. Phil Bryant was “tickled to death” by the proposed bond package, and that many of the items are essential to the state.
“It was just two different positions,” Smith said. “This is the biggest disappointment I’ve had all year.”
Smith said he hopes that a special session will be called to re-negotiate the bond package. Senate Finance Chair Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, said a special session may be possible after more conversation, but at the moment the House and Senate visions for the bond packages are too far apart to reconcile.
By adjournment yesterday, key budget bills such as Medicaid and the Institutions of Higher Learning appropriations had passed both the House and Senate.
The Medicaid budget was a disappointment to the division’s executive director David Dzielak. He said the appropriations figure is artificially inflated by funding that was re-routed from other departments through Medicaid, even though those dollars cannot be used to fund the program.
The legislative deadline to approve all appropriations and revenue bills in the $5.6 billion budget is today. The session ends May 6.
BEFORE YOU GO…
… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.
If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.Click for more info