/Powerful appropriations post goes to Rep Read

Powerful appropriations post goes to Rep Read

Read, R.Gautier, will take over for Herb Frierson (R-Poplarville), who resigned July 1, when Gov. Phil Bryant appointed him to the Department of Revenue. Read said that he was not Herb Frierson and that he wasn’t John Read shortly after Monday’s announcement. “But I can assure you that some things he has implemented over the last few years, I absolutely intend to continue… It’s an important position and I’m looking to work with everyone on both ends of the building.” Read will be working closely with Speaker Philip Gunn (R-Clinton), Lt. Governor. Tate Reeves (R-Florence) and Buck Clarke (R-Hollandale), all of whom create the state budget for each fiscal. This group works with the Legislative Budget Office to assess agency heads’ appropriations requests, determine how much money to distribute to each agency, and finally decide which agencies will see year-over-year increases/cuts. These officials may be under greater pressure than they were in previous years. According to Treasurer Lynn Fitch, the budget for this year has a deficit of at least $135million. An overestimation of $56 million is not a good idea. According to Laura Jackson (executive director of the Department of Finance and Administration), there will be no special-fund transfers of at least $79 millions into the general fund. Bryant cut agency budgets in the middle of the year twice, and pulled $110 million from the emergency fund to offset lower revenues. Read stated that “in the coming months we will have to attempt to make the most of what we have.” The big problem right now is that we don’t know how much revenue we will have, and our revenue has not met estimates. “We’ll sort that out at the fall Legislative Budget Office meetings and, by January, we will have a much better picture.” Frierson, who was leaving the dome July 1, had left vacant the appropriations chairmanship. Read stated that he was among a few representatives who submitted names to the Speaker for consideration. Read stated that each candidate presented to Gunn. Gunn stated in a release that John has more knowledge and experience in the appropriations process then anyone in the House of Representatives. His service record and resume make it clear that he’s highly qualified to serve as chairman. I think he will do an outstanding job. Read has extensive appropriations experience. Read has been a member of the House Appropriations Committee since 1992, and was vice-chairman for eight years. Read also has experience as chairman of Fees and Salaries Committee and Conservation and Water Resources Committee. He was vice chairman of Rules Committee. Reeves & Gunn created legislative working groups this summer to examine the budgets of 13 state agencies, line by line. According to the legislative leadership, the goal of these groups is to find unnecessary spending and free up money to be used elsewhere in the budget. Read currently serves on the House Education Committee. Read stated that no one is on a witch hunt regarding the working groups. We’re trying to get information from these agencies in order to make better decisions for the next session. “I think there will be very productive hearings between now-November.” To support this work, you can start a regular donation today to celebrate our Spring Member Drive. This will allow us to continue important work such as this story. 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 all Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think.