/Most BP settlement cash going to Coast, ending special session

Most BP settlement cash going to Coast, ending special session

In a special legislative session, the House passed Wednesday a bill that will determine how the estimated $700 million will be split. The Senate also passed the same bill on Tuesday night. Now the bill will be sent to the governor for signature. The majority of funds should be given to the Coast, but lawmakers from other parts of the state wanted it to go elsewhere. 42 senators and 99 representatives voted in favor of giving 75 percent to the Coast. Rep. Jeff Smith (R-Columbus) stated that the 75-25 split was the only viable solution. The final act of the Legislature in the special session that began August 23 was the diversion of BP funds. Gov. Phil Bryant, Gov. They also used $111 million of the BP settlement funds that had been received to fund special projects in the state before lawmakers left Jackson. The 128 projects were mostly infrastructure-related and were selected by Republican leaders who drafted it. Here is a breakdown of all the projects. This week’s $700 million is part of a $2.4billion settlement Attorney General Jim Hood and others negotiated after the 2010 explosion of Deepwater Horizon’s oil rig and subsequent oil spillage in the Gulf of Mexico. The majority of $2.4 billion that is not paid to the state for economic damage goes for environmental restoration projects along the Coast. This money was not available for the Legislature. Additionally, funds were also provided to municipalities and counties along the coast for other issues, such as the reimbursement of at most a portion of the lost sales tax revenue. This week, the Legislature distributed money to compensate the state for sales tax revenue lost due to the economic downturn caused by the oil spillage. Lt. Governor. Tate Reeves and Speaker Philip Gunn negotiated the 75-25 split. Others argued that $700 million should be more evenly distributed across the state. However, their efforts failed this week. The state has already received $150 million in settlement funds and the Legislature has spent approximately $50 million on projects primarily Gulf Coast-related. In payments of $40 million each, the state will receive the $600 million final installment over the next 15-years. The bill’s $111 million in earmarks is being paid for using BP funds already received by the state and $50 million in bonds that were approved in the special session earlier. The 75 percent payment will be made to Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson, which are the three counties bordering the Gulf of Mexico. Pearl River, Stone, and George lie just north of the coast counties.