/A matter of facts The background behind Bryant’s State of the State speech

A matter of facts The background behind Bryant’s State of the State speech

Mississippi Today reporters analyzed statements made by Governor Bryant on taxes, education, and the economy. They produced this summary of facts and context. Bryant: It is our responsibility to make sure that good teachers can become great ones. This includes continuing to support Teach for America at its highest level and National Board Certified Teachers. According to this 2016 Mississippi Today article, Teach For America has had difficulty managing recruitment and training operations. Teach For America received $1.8 million less in state funding in 2016 than it did the previous year. This is approximately $4 million less. According to the organization, it is expected to receive approximately the same amount in fiscal year 2017. For their certification, National Board Certified Teachers in Mississippi receive an $6,000 bonus on their annual salaries. Mississippi is a standout among its Southern counterparts in this regard. According to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), some teachers are not eligible for a bonus. Bryant: I believe that parents should be able to choose the school they want to send their child to, and not have it determined by the government. Fact check: The demand for Mississippi’s disability voucher program was greater than the supply in the second year. Therefore, the Mississippi Department of Education conducted a lottery to award some of 435 vouchers for the 2016-2017 school years. Although 257 people remained on the wait list as of July, 113 scholarships were still unutilized. Bryant: More than 90% of third-graders in Mississippi have passed the reading test for the first time ever. Fact check: It is true. Students who score above the lowest achievement level on the reading test for 3rd grade are included in the “more than 90%” statistic. Only 36% of third graders achieved levels 4 or 5 last school year, or were proficient or advanced. Sixty nine percent achieved a Level 3 or above. Carey Wright, the state superintendent of education, has said that the standard for passing the third grade test is too low. Students will need to achieve a Level 2 score to be eligible for the fourth grade in the 2018-2019 school years. Bryant: The high school graduation rate is above 80 percent. Fact check: While graduation rates in Mississippi have increased, there are more options available for students to graduate. Recently, the Mississippi Department of Education added alternatives to the graduation process that could replace passing the end-of-year subject-area exams. To earn a diploma, students must complete the required amount of Carnegie units and pass the subject-area tests. Students can now graduate by passing required courses, passing the subject-area exam, obtaining a score 17 or higher on the ACT in the subject or earning a C in a dual enrollment/dual credits course. Students will be able use their subject-area test scores for 25 percent of the final course grades in the 2018-2019 school years. Bryant: More that $100 million has been allocated to teacher raises… Fact check: Governor. Bryant signed legislation to raise teacher salaries in 2014. However, teachers in Mississippi are amongst the lowest-paid in the country, with an average salary at $44,659 in the last school year, according State Superintendent Carey Wright. Bryant: The election of local superintendents was ended and dyslexia identification/response became a reality. Fact check: The Legislature did vote for local superintendents. The Legislature created a scholarship for dyslexic therapy students that can be used at five state special schools. Schools were required to screen all students in kindergarten through first grade under the legislation. Bryant: Today, charter schools, early learning, and school choice for special-needs children are all possible because of the hard decisions made by many of your guests tonight. Fact check: Three charter schools currently operate in the state four years after the charter school law passed. All three are located in Jackson. The charter schools have poor accountability ratings and test scores, but supporters claim that they expect students to achieve better results with more time. Midtown Public Charter School received an F rating by the state, while Reimagine Prep, Smilow Prep, and Smilow Prep all received D grades. Next school year, a second charter school will open in the Delta. It is the first school outside of the capital. Ten state-funded pre-kindergarten learning collaborations are outperforming students in the state’s other pre-kindergarten programs. However, nearly half of all school districts did not offer pre-kindergarten last school year. Bryant: I created the Governor’s Opioid and Heroin Task Force in December 2016 to address this problem. I am proud to report that the task force members made their recommendations and took swift and courageous actions. Fact check: The task force’s first recommendation, which was to distribute Narcan to all law enforcement officers — a lifesaving drug that reverses the effects of opioid overdose if administered promptly — was a success. 23 Narcan deployments were made by law enforcement officers in the first month. Each deployment was successful. Each deployment was successful. Many doctors, patients, and experts in public health deemed the initial recommendations impractical and dangerous, so the board decided to redraft them. The Secretary of State has made the new draft available for public comment. Bryant: We have built a world-class medical school at University of Mississippi Medical Center. It will provide the necessary training for physicians in a state that is still lacking qualified medical professionals. We are on track to reach our goal of adding 1,000 physicians by 2025 thanks to your support. Fact Check: While it is likely that the state will add 1,000 physicians to its workforce by 2025 it is not clear if this increase can be attributed the new medical school or if the number of doctors in the state will increase dramatically. The University of Mississippi Medical Center has steadily increased the number of first-year students since 2008, from 110 in 2012 to 165 in 2022. The new medical school, a $76million facility built with bonds and state money, has greatly contributed to this increase. It can accommodate large classes. Even if the class had increased to full capacity immediately in 2012, it would still mean that the state’s medical school could be expanded by at most 770 doctors. Bryant: I requested that the Center of Medicaid/Medicare Services establish a requirement for workers to be able-bodied adults. This is not a punitive measure aimed at recipients, as some might have you believe. This will allow these people to reap the benefits of a job well done and eventually receive coverage through their employer for health care. Fact check: This requirement will effectively eliminate a whole category of Medicaid beneficiaries. Medicaid is available to more than 700,000. Approximately 56 percent of these are children. The remaining 37 percent are elderly, pregnant or disabled. The work requirement would not affect any of these groups. The work requirement would instead affect low-income parents and caretakers who make up 7 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries. This would mean that there are approximately 50,000 beneficiaries. However, caretakers who take care of children and other people who can’t be left alone will be exempted from this requirement, further reducing the number. A person must have a minimum of $306 in monthly income to be eligible for Medicaid in Mississippi. This waiver would require that beneficiaries in this category work at least 20 hours per week. These recipients are ineligible for a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, which equals $580 per month. Recipients who don’t work will lose their eligibility status. Bryant: Mississippi is now ranked in the top ten for economic development opportunities. Fact check: Gov. Bryant didn’t give the source, but Bryant frequently cites Area Development magazine as the source. According to the most recent report Mississippi was ranked No. According to the most recent report, Mississippi ranked 9th in “top states to do business.” Bryant. Northrop Grumman Jackson County has created 60 new jobs in aerospace and invested $3.7 million to expand its UAV assembly plant. Borg Warner announced a $20 million corporate investment and 75 new jobs at its Water Valley plant. Fact check: Gov. Bryant and his Republican colleagues often state that one of the primary functions of government is to foster economic development. Many of these projects were possible because of taxpayer-backed incentives. Since years, shipyard expansion has been ongoing. The Mississippi Major Economic Impact Authority was approved by the Legislature in February 2016. It provided $11 million to expand the port and attract shipbuilders. In addition to providing $25 million in Katrina community block grants, the Port of Gulfport has also provided $25 million in Katrina infrastructure development grants. The Mississippi Development Authority, which is a state agency, provided support through the Mississippi Industry Incentive Financing Revolving Fund to Roxul for site preparation, road improvements, and workforce training. Borg Warner was also assisted by MDA through the Momentum Mississippi incentives program. This provides construction and training assistance. Bryant: Mississippi’s unemployment rate fell twice last year to 4.9 percent. It was 4.8 percent in November. This is the lowest unemployment rate since 1979, when it was first recorded. Fact check: Mississippi’s November unemployment rate was 4.8 percent. However, 42 other states had lower November unemployment rates. This makes Mississippi’s unemployment rate one of the highest in the country. Bryant: This and many other expansions and projects are evidence that government can create a tax and regulatory environment that encourages growth, and then get out of the way so that the private sector can harness their innovative character. Our economy thrives and more citizens have the dignity and affirmation that a well-paying job is available. Fact check: Revenues have exceeded projections through the first six months in the current fiscal year. Revenues dragged in the previous budget years, leading to budget cuts mid-year and reductions in annual budget appropriations. The Legislature adopted the largest tax cut ever, eliminating both the corporate franchise tax as well as the 3 percent bracket for the individual income tax. The tax cut is already reducing annual revenues. However, Mississippi will lose $415 million annually in revenue by fiscal year 2028 when it has been fully phased in. Officials and budget experts don’t believe that the cut will bring enough capital to the state, making it difficult for the country to attain its projected economic growth. According to a Mississippi Today analysis, the largest ever tax cut benefits corporations outside of state. Many of the state’s most populous cities and counties are increasing taxes to fund basic public services. To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to the Spring Member Drive today. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think. Republish this Story You can freely republish our articles online or in print under a Creative Commons licence. 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January 10, 2018