Governor Phil Bryant has ordered another budget cut of less than one percent to the state’s budget.
This time, the tax cut has impacted the Mississippi Department of Education, with one half of one percent being shaved from the state’s education budget amounting to $11 million dollars.
According to the Governor’s letter, this requires a transfer of $7 million from the Rainy Day Fund into the General Fund, with an additional $43 million dollars needing to be saved. That savings, he said, would be achieved by “an additional cut to most agencies of 0.9%” and that the agencies who were exempt from last month’s cuts would only see a cut of one half of one percent.
Clay Chandler is the Communications Director for the Governor, and said Gov. Bryant is required by law to make the changes.
“The governor doesn’t relish having to do this,” said Chandler. “It’s not like he wakes up in the morning and says ‘I’m going to cut someone’s budget.'”
Chandler said $300 million is still left in the Rainy Day fund, and if more cuts are needed, that’s a cushion.
“He is pretty optimistic there is no other cuts upcoming (for this fiscal year,” said Chandler. “But there’s no reason to panic.”
Senator David Blount isn’t so sure.
“They should be very nervous,” said Blount. “The budget is in bad shape, and the biggest tax cut in history hasn’t even started yet.”
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The Governor released the following statement on Facebook:
In keeping with state law, I have made an adjustment of less than 1 percent to Mississippi’s overall $6.1 billion budget.
This budget still represents almost $700 million more in government spending than just five years ago. Unlike other states, Mississippi has a healthy reserve I have drawn upon to fund vital services like mental health, public safety and the military, some of which have received small reductions.
However, I have for the first time made minimal reductions in education as a necessity. We are fortunate that proper management has prevented a tax increase for the hardworking taxpayers of Mississippi. It is the governor’s statutory responsibility to balance the budget. I will uphold that duty.
Here is the full Facebook post, including the Governor’s full letter.