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BP oil spill money: where will it go?

Mississippi Capitol Building. Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications.

How to distribute the funds from the BP oil spill settlement has been a long debated question and many believe that it should go back to the Gulf Coast because that is where the majority of the damage occurred. So, how much money is the state owed?

“We have actually received between $125 and $150 million of the total $750 million settlement,” said Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves. “Of that, we’ve spent somewhere between $25 and $50 million. We have approximately $100 million that is sitting in the budget contingency fund today. We have spent less than a third of what we have received, and we have received less than a fifth of what we are going to.”

Reeves said that starting in Fiscal Year 2019, the State of Mississippi will be receiving $30 million a year for the next 15 years.

He added that the Senate passed legislation last year to move the budget from the contingency fund and create a disaster recovery fund so that the money would be allocated specifically to the coast.

However, while the Senate passed the bill, it did not pass in the House.

Reeves said he believes the money should be spent on job creation efforts along the Coast.

“If you look at the economic stats today, compared to the economic stats on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2010 prior to the oil spill, you really see a downturn in total economic activity along the coast in the aftermath of that particular oil spill,” said Reeves.

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