After years of debate, the future of the BP oil settlement funds has been decided.
On day five of the special session, the House voted to pass the bill which will deliver 75% of the $600,000 million to the Mississippi Gulf Coast while the remaining 25% will be distributed throughout the state. By a final vote of 99-10, the bill was sent to Governor Bryant’s desk.
The original sum of the settlement was $750 million following the BP oil spill back in 2010. Since then, $50 million has been spent, and just over $110 million has now been separated to pay for 128 special projects included in the bill.
The bill originated in the Senate last night, and it was passed by a vote of 42-8. After the bill was passed, Governor Bryant tweeted his support for the deal.
I want to thank Lt. Gov. @tatereeves and the Senate for passing the BP legislation. It designates 75 percent of projects for our Gulf Coast. The Coast delegation did their job and we are moving together forward.
— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) August 29, 2018
Heading into today’s discussion, the deal had support in the House as well. Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden stated that while the entire state did feel the effects of the spill, the Gulf Coast was hit the hardest.
“I would support a reasonable split where most of the money stays on the Gulf Coast, but some of it goes around the state because this is money to compensate the state for lost sales tax revenue,” Snowden said. “There was lost sales tax revenue all around the state as a result, although it was, of course, heavier on the coast.”
As it relates to the bill, the counties on the coast include Harrison, Hancock, Jackson, Pearl River, Stone and George. The funds from the settlement will be paid out the state over the next 15 years.
This became the third and final bill passed during the five-day special session after the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act was passed on Monday and the “Alyce G. Clarke Mississippi Lottery Bill” was passed yesterday.