/Projected drop in revenue snarls budget bills

Projected drop in revenue snarls budget bills

According to Friday’s projections by the state Revenue Estimating Group, the Fiscal Year 2017 budget will be approximately $5.6 billion. Fiscal Year 2017 will begin on July 1. The new projection of a $101.7million decline in revenue means that the state will only record a lower income than in the past 40 years. The Revenue Estimating Group consists of the state treasurer and the state economist. It also includes the department for revenue, finance and administration, and the legislative budget officer. As lawmakers spend the weekend adjusting appropriations bills to balance FY 2017, their new estimate will be considered. It updates projections from a year ago. “The projection certainly complicates budget process,” stated Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R-Florence). “It’s going make it even more difficult to get a budget done within the next day or two, but it also conforms with what we’ve been doing for five years or so. We’re simply going to not spend money we don’t have.” Reeves and the chairs of the Senate appropriations committees endorsed a Senate bill that would pull assessments and fees from state departments that fall under the special fund category into the general funds. The “Budget Transparency and Simplification Act” would prohibit state agencies from charging fees for services rendered to them. The bill, which is also known as the “Budget Transparency and Simplification Act,” would allow assessments and fees from 15 state agencies, including the public service commissioner, secretary of state’s offices, and the insurance division, to be transferred into the general fund, instead of being held in cash balances of the special fund, where they are currently located. Rep. Jay Hughes (D-Oxford), one of the bill’s opponents, said that the bill would allow for tax cuts on franchises. Senator Buck Clark, R.Hollandale and chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, stated that the bill does not relate to corporate or franchise tax cuts. In its current form, the bill would allow for a one-time deposit of $104 million into the general fund. This amount will be used to fund the current or next fiscal years, and the general fund will continue to bring in $19 millions each year. Clark explained that $19 million is the amount currently taken out of the general budget and sent to special fund departments. Clark and Rep. Herb Frierson (R-Poplarville), who are the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, stated that the budget approach was first created four years ago. Clark stated that they began to think about how consistency can be achieved across government. Clark also explained how each agency could be placed on the same foot when they come to us with their budget. Clark said that he talked with Herb (Frierson), and that’s when he suggested the idea. “Turn what special agencies you can into general fund agencies,” Webb stated. Webb also noted that the projection did not include unanticipated transfers. These are, economists say, court settlements, increased Medicaid premiums, and other funds not included in the budgeting process. The state has received $108.5million in unanticipated transfer funds, which includes $66.2million from the attorney general’s court settlements. The state received only $50 million in unanticipated transfers last fiscal year. Reeves said Friday to reporters that Mississippi had received approximately $350 million in unanticipated transfers over the seven previous fiscal years. Reeves was a member of the budget estimating team for eight years before he became lieutenant governor. He asked Darren Webb pointed questions about the unanticipated transfer projections. Reeves described Friday’s projection as “pessimistic” and said that he believes that the state will receive a significant amount of unanticipated transfer funds. Reeves believes that the legislature will reach an agreement despite the negative projections. Reeves stated that there are still a few days for details to be worked out with House counterparts and friends. “We have had productive conversations. “We have had very productive conversations. To meet deadlines, both the Senate and House will be working Saturday and Sunday.