JACKSON- State Treasurer Lynn Fitch has released the annual economic briefing in collaboration with the State Economist’s office for the State Legislature.
The following was presented by Deputy Treasurer Jesse Graham:
- State bond indebtedness continues a steady climb, reaching almost $4.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2016.
- From Fiscal Year 2006 to Fiscal Year 2016, bond indebtedness grew $1.3 billion (41.8%).
- Debt service is the third largest item in the State budget.
- Legislature did not fully fund debt service for Fiscal Year 2017 – $7.6 million in deficit appropriations needed before April 1, 2017.
- Legislative Budget Recommendation for Fiscal Year 2018 makes the same mistake – relies too heavily on special funds for debt service.
- Legislature’s heavy reliance on special funds has bled those funds dry. Don’t even have enough to cover short-term borrowing needs, which means taxpayers will pay more.
- Mississippi is behind the national average and behind its peer states in our debt ratios.
o Net Tax Supported Debt Per Capita: $1,707
o Debt as Percent of Personal Income: 5.0%
o Debt as a Percent of State GDP: 4.88%
o Debt Service Ratio: 6.0%
- New rules passed by the State Bond Commission are meant to help manage debt levels
- The Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition (MPACT) Legacy program has a $126.4 million shortfall.
- College Savings Board has requested emergency infusions from the Legislature the past three years – all have been ignored.
- MPACT Legacy Program will be insolvent in 2025 under current assumptions.
- MPACT bears the full faith and credit of the State.
- An opportunity to help shrink the shortfall by updating the 20-year-old investment statutes was left to die in committee by the Legislature.
Breaking the Cycle of Poverty:
- Mississippi has the highest poverty rate in the nation (22.6%).
- 246,000 Mississippi children live in poverty (34%).
- Mississippi ranks at or near bottom of all studies on financial habits.
- In states that have made financial education a high school graduation requirement, credit scores for recent graduates increased.
- An opportunity to make financial education a ½ credit course required for graduation was left to die in committee by the Legislature.
- 23% of Mississippi women live in poverty.
- Over 75% of Mississippi children living in poverty live in a household headed by a single mom.
- Mississippi is one of only 2 states in the nation that does not protect equal pay for equal work.
- Mississippi has a 27% pay gap, according to a December 2016 study by the State Economist’s office.
- Today’s wage gap costs a woman $375,000 over a 40-year career.
- Woman working 40-hour workweek earns $9,600 less than a man, on average.
- An opportunity to close the pay gap was left to die in committee by the Legislature.
A full report is available HERE.