/Fitch State’s financial culture must change to improve economy

Fitch State’s financial culture must change to improve economy

Lynn Fitch, the state treasurer, is a specialist in managing change. Fitch is the state’s banker and also serves as a financial educator for citizens, policymakers, and industry leaders. This includes helping people understand the dangers of payday loans, and teaching high school students the importance of budgeting and saving. Fitch spoke at Mississippi Today’s first Coffee & Discussion at Millsaps College Else School of Management Thursday. She said that she is working to change financial culture in a state where poverty rates are high and the recovery from the Great Recession has been slow. Fitch stated that Mississippi has had a difficult time recovering, and has left us more stagnant than many other states. Fitch identified several policies she believes could help give the economy a boost. Fitch thinks Mississippi could benefit from a constitutional change that would require the state to adopt a balanced budget. The state statute requires that the budget be balanced. However, there is no constitutional requirement for the spending plan to balance. Her office is currently working on a plan that will launch an effort to place the issue on the upcoming ballot. Fitch, who is a member of the State Bond Commission along with the attorney general and governor, suggested that the commission take a close look at the $300,000,000 in projects approved by the Legislature last session. Mississippians have $5 billion of general-obligation debt. She said, “Now we’re going vetting all projects.” “We want (to) be very careful (in) peeling away the layers of making certain these are good projects.” Mississippi’s struggles with revenue have prompted several rounds of budget cuts. Fitch also stressed the importance to have accurate budget numbers. Fitch suggested that it was important to not rely on one-time funding for expenses which recur each year. She stated that we cannot plan our future on one-time funds and have programs put out and can’t finance them. 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 republish our articles online or in print for free under a Creative Commons licence.