JACKSON, MISS– The Senate Appropriations Committee has passed a bill 33-14 to fill budget gaps for the remainder of FY2016 with money from the state’s “rainy day” fund.
Senator John Horne proposed an amendment on the bill that would limit the Governor’s power to transfer funds to $100 million, but Senator Briggs Hopson opposed the amendment. He said the Governor wouldn’t just spend more money than necessary.
“If he didn’t have to transfer the money,” said Hopson. “It would stay in the rainy day fund.”
The amendment failed.
A request to suspend the rules and allow the bill to be brought up immediately passed the Senate 35-12, mostly along party lines. The rules would typically require the bill be read three times before it could be voted on by the Senate.
Senator Hob Bryan opposed taking up the bill without it being read three times on the Senate floor.
“We can’t fix the 2016 budget without affecting the 2017 budget,” said Bryan. “Before I do anything for the 2016 budget, I want to know how much agencies have for the next fiscal year.”
Bryan added that the rules shouldn’t be suspended until someone from the Governor’s office can elaborate on Governor Bryant’s reasoning for wanting an undetermined amount of money.
“This is the best chance to get the answer on how much power the governor should have,” said Bryan.
Senator Briggs Hopson said that the bill has to pass for the sake of state operations.
“If we don’t do something, our state agencies will be cut,” said Hopson. “More than they already have been.”
This legislation would allow the Department of Finance and Administration to transfer an amount of money determined by Governor Phil Bryant from the “Working Cash-Stabilization Fund” and to the General Fund, according to the legislation. Read and follow that legislation here.