Joint Legislative Budget Commission recommends state budget for fiscal year 2023 | Mississippi Politics and News
The $ 6.4 billion budget recommendation includes salary increases for state employees and cuts 2,500 vacant positions. Education remains the first budget item.
The Mississippi Joint Budgetary Committee released its State budget recommendations for fiscal year 2023.
The committee met on Tuesday and adopted the recommendations ahead of the start of the 2022 legislative session in January.
The committee built fiscal 2023 solely on recurring funds, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann said. One-off amounts, such as those received from the federal government for pandemic assistance, have not been used to support budgets and recurring spending.
Here’s a breakdown of their recommendation:
- Estimated revenue for the General Fund for fiscal year 2023: $ 6,493,500,000. This reflects an increase in expected revenues of 9.56% above the 2022 fiscal year revenue estimate.
- General funds available for fiscal year 2023: $ 544.7 million more than general funds allocated for fiscal year 2022.
- General fund for fiscal year 2023 available for expenses (excluding 2% layaway): $ 6,363,630,000.
- General Fund Budget for Fiscal Year 2023 Total Recommendation: $ 5,824,812,943. The proposed budget for the General Fund for FY2023 is $ 5.8 million more than what was budgeted for FY2022.
- Total state support, which includes general funds, capital expenditure funds, education improvement funds, health care consumable funds, and tobacco control funds: 6,386,672 $ 653. That’s $ 573.9 million, or 5.64%, less than the fiscal year 2022 budget. This decrease is due to the reduction in one-time COVID-19 funds, one-time capital spending funds, and Gulf Coast restoration funds.
Proposed increases noted
The Committee recommends certain targeted budget increases to agencies, some of which include:
- State Staff Council for SEC2 salary scale: this amount was $ 25 million for salaries to increase the salary of state employees eligible for minimum wage as determined by the Council of government personnel. As a result of this increase, many state agencies will show an increased level of funding in fiscal year 2022.
- Ministry of Revenue for Homestead Exemption Reimbursement: This request of $ 90.6 million, an increase of $ 11.6 million from fiscal year 2022, fully funds the program. These funds return to the counties where the refund is deposited.
- Department of Public Security: This increase of $ 624,020 is used to finance the cost of annualizing the salary increases for sworn officers required by law. In addition to these salary increases, $ 3.25 million in general funds were provided to the Capitol Police, which includes thirty-seven new positions and funding for equipment to increase its presence in the District of improvement of the Capitol complex.
- Department of Mental Health: $ 1 million has been set aside for the usage review process and $ 4.9 million in investment funds will be provided to the forensic unit of the hospital in State of Mississippi.
- Budget of district attorneys and staff for the new district 23.
The following actions were recommended by the Committee:
- Fund most vacancies in the state
- Eliminate 2,539 vacant positions in the state
- Reduce funding for travel and contractual services
- Spend agency cash balances whenever possible
- Eliminate funds for one-time expenses, like capital improvements
The 10 most important budget items for the state of Mississippi are:
- Appropriate MS Education Program – $ 2,366.9 million
- Medicaid – $ 900.3 million
- Debt service – $ 433.9 million
- DIH – General Support – $ 360.9M
- Correctional Services – $ 318.9M
- Community College – Support – $ 242.4 M
- Mental Health – $ 244.4M
- DIH – University Medical Center – $ 171.5 M
- General education – $ 184.2 million
- Child Protection Services – $ 112.1M
The Committee’s recommendation maintains state reserve funds of nearly $ 4.4 billion. The Rainy Day fund has $ 556 million, as well as $ 129.9 million in the 2% reserve.
Mississippi has $ 1.8 billion in the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund, which will be discussed and allocated in the next session.
There is $ 30.7 million left in the Gulf Coast Restoration Fund and $ 23.1 million in the BP Settlement Fund.
It should be noted that the budget recommendation did not include a salary increase for teachers. However, Gov. Tate Reeves and a majority of lawmakers expressing a desire to increase teacher salaries, which is subject to change as the process continues. An increase of $ 1,000 for teachers would amount to a cut of almost $ 50 million in the budget.
In addition, recommendations on how to eliminate state income tax were not part of this Committee publication. These discussions will be left to the appropriate committees in both chambers during the session, which means that this recommendation is just that – a recommendation. If lawmakers pass the elimination of income tax, those numbers will surely change.
Lieutenant Governor Hosemann and President Gunn thanked the committee for their work, as well as the staff of the legislative budget office. The recommendations are now before the House and Senate for consideration.