/Lawmakers ‘close’ on budget, stimulus spending deals

Lawmakers ‘close’ on budget, stimulus spending deals

Because Monday’s midnight deadline for budget bills passed, lawmakers are expected Tuesday to vote to extend the session “on papers”. They still hope to complete work by Friday and close this year’s session. A $7 billion state budget is still being finalized for the fiscal year that begins in July. It also includes a plan to use most of $1.8 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act pandemic funding money from Congress. Lt. Governor. “Chairman Hopson, Chairman Read are busy right currently working on (appropriations bills), but they won’t finish tonight,” he said. Delbert Hosemann, who is in charge of the Senate, spoke out to refer to John Read, House Appropriations Chair, and Briggs Hopson, his Senate counterpart. The leaders of the legislative branches don’t believe they will be able to get the two-thirds vote from both chambers required to delay the Monday night deadline. House Speaker Philip Gunn stated Monday that he believes they will reach a budget agreement tonight or tomorrow. “… However, the physical process of printing bills — having analysts review them, proof them and then printing them can take up to 48 hours. Friday — That’s my guess (on the end of the session).” The state budget agreement will include $40 million for a pay increase for state employees under the “SEC Squared” program of the state Personnel Board to bring salaries in the state government closer to regional averages. Already, lawmakers have sent to the governor the biggest teacher raise in state history. The largest tax cut in state history was also sent to Governor Scott by lawmakers over the weekend. It will reduce Mississippians’ personal income taxes by more than $500,000,000 by 2026. The leaders of the legislature said that they have also reached agreement on spending $1.3 billion to $1.4 trillion of state ARPA money, and retaining $300 million to 400 million. Jason White, House Speaker Pro Tem, stated that the majority of state’s ARPA money, approximately $750 million would be used to fund infrastructure projects by local governments and rural water organizations. Millions of dollars would also be spent on health, mental and children’s services in order to meet long-standing federal court orders to correct substandard services and conditions. Another spending plan will be to build a new University of Mississippi Medical Center nursing center and invest about $50 million in workforce development. White stated that lawmakers are considering a match of $25 million for $25 million Jackson has set aside for its sewer and water system repairs. White stated that fixing the system would cost more than the city leaders believe. Gunn stated that many general law bills are still being discussed in the final days. This includes an equal pay bill, which would make Mississippi the last state to not provide recourse for employees who are paid less on the basis of sex. Also, it would reinstate the voter ballot initiative process, which was thrown out by the courts. To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to the Spring Member Drive today.