Legislature Returning to Jackson to Plug Budget Hole
Tomorrow, the Legislature will zip into Jackson to raid the Rainy Day Fund (RDF) again, using one-time-money to erase the remaining state budget deficit before Thursday's year-end. Earlier this year, Governor Bryant withdrew a chunk from the fund and cut agency budgets (taking $9.7-million from the MAEP), hoping to stop the bleeding. It wasn't enough. State coffers are still short $50- to $75-million.
When the legislative leadership wrote this year's budget, they grossly underestimated the disastrous impact of the $350-million in corporate tax breaks they had granted to cronies since 2012. Their fiscal mismanagement left Mississippi spending at least $200-million more than the state took in this year.
Surely they've learned their lesson, right? Not a chance. At the same time Governor Bryant was pulling from the RDF and cutting budgets mid-year, the Legislature was approving another - the largest ever - corporate tax break ($415-million more) and passing another out-of-balance budget for the new fiscal year that begins Friday. That budget has more gimmicks and red ink than you can shake a stick at, but Governor Bryant says he won't let them address those problems in this week's special session.
Sit tight. We will need your help when state leaders finally decide to deal with the rest of the mess they've made. History tells us they are likely to try to balance the state budget on the backs of our children.
You can get a head start now by telling your friends about the brewing financial fiasco and the risk to public schools. And make sure they get our emails or check us out on Facebook. We promise to keep you in the loop!