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Governor indicates deal on infrastructure funding

Photo by News Mississippi.

Ahead of this week’s special session of the Mississippi Legislature, it appears that a deal between the House and the Senate may be close.

The session, which begins Thursday, will center around finding a continuous funding solution for the state’s infrastructure. While some were worried that a deal may not be in place before lawmakers walked back into their chambers, Governor Bryant has seemingly put that talk to rest.

A lottery has been in the discussion for some time in Mississippi, and if the Governor’s tweet holds true, one could be implemented very soon. As recently as two weeks ago, the Governor vocalized his willingness to find new funding streams for the state’s infrastructure.

“Are people now ready to look at funding sources like a lottery, like a use-tax, like sports betting? For at least the first five years, can we dedicate [sports betting revenue] to infrastructure? There will be challenges, but we’ve never anything this challenging easily, so I expect some strong debate,” the Governor said while speaking at an event a few weeks ago.”

While there are plenty of voices supporting a potentially lottery, Speaker of the House Philip Gunn is not  one of them. Gunn stated that he won’t block a lottery, but he won’t support one.

“If the Senate passes it and brings it over to us then we will deal with it then, but I am just not a fan of the lottery,” Gunn said. “I have studied it extensively. I have, I think, good policy reasons why it is bad. It is just bad public policy in my opinion, but I am just one guy with one opinion and I think I am in the minority on that. Overwhelmingly, people of the state want it and I think many of our politicians are willing to vote for it, but Philip Gunn will not vote for it because I think it is bad public policy.”

Lt. Governor Tate Reeves and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn have continued to work on a plan since the end of the 2018 legislative session, and Reeves released the following statement regarding the upcoming session.

Several infrastructure bills were introduced during the 2018 legislative session, but no comprehensive funding plans were passed.

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