Home » NEWS » Economic Development » Gov. Bryant believes he’s done cutting budget this year

Gov. Bryant believes he’s done cutting budget this year

Phil Bryant

Phil Bryant

By BOBBY HARRISON
Daily Journal

Gov. Phil Bryant says he does not anticipate having to make any more budget cuts this year to offset sluggish revenue collections.

“I think we are in good shape right now,” the Republican governor said recently. “We are within the revenue number.”

Bryant said any issues dealing with the budget for the current fiscal year can be dealt with by the Legislature during the 2017 session starting in January.

The governor already made a cut of $56.8 million (less than 1 percent of the total state general fund budget) in September. That cut was caused because the Legislature, during the 2016 session, budgeted $56.8 million too much because of what was essentially an accounting error.

But for July and August, the first two months of the fiscal year, revenue collections have not met projections. In addition, while the numbers are not final, Rep. David Baria of Bay St Louis, the House Democratic leader, said via social media it appears revenue also will not meet projections for September.

Despite the revenue woes, Bryant seemed confident Friday he would not have to make any additional cuts this year.

Bryant said in January the Legislature may have to make adjustments to the Budget Transparency and Simplification Act that was passed during the 2016 session. The controversial legislation was supposed to provide additional funds – nearly $190 million – to help offset the budget woes facing the Legislature  by sweeping into the state general fund the fees and assessments 16 agencies receive to administer specific programs.

But in an official opinion, Attorney General Jim Hood said because of the way the new law was worded it did not transfer as much money to the general fund budget as legislators intended. He estimated $80 million that legislators were counting on could not be transferred. Bryant said legislators might revisit the issue in January.

The cut Bryant made in early September comes on top of two rounds of budget reductions totaling $60 million that the governor made during the previous fiscal year. In addition, the governor tapped into the rainy day fund to transfer $110 million to avoid additional cuts during the last fiscal year.

The cuts during the previous fiscal year combined with the legislative appropriations made during the 2016 session already have forced multiple state agencies to layoff employees and make substantial cuts in state services. For instance, the Department of Mental Health has closed down its in-patient alcohol and drug treatment programs for males.

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

About For the MBJ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*