/State spending $260 million less now than 2008 when factoring in inflation

State spending $260 million less now than 2008 when factoring in inflation

Governors of the states Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant “This effort has resulted a savings in excess of $64 million for taxpayers in Mississippi.” This issue will likely be a major issue in the state elections later in the year. Also, was the reduction in state government and the accompanying tax cuts necessary for the state’s well-being or were more funds needed in areas such as education, health care, and transportation? The current session of the Mississippi Legislature was very similar to the one that was held in 2007. It was being held during the year of state elections. Like the previous year, 2007 saw a slight improvement in the state’s financial situation than in any of its immediate preceding years. The improved financial situation, most likely due to the fact that it was an election year and because the Legislature fully funded the Mississippi Adequate Education Program for the first time since 2003. Then-Gov. Haley Barbour initially opposed full funding MAEP. This is the mechanism that funds local school districts. But, she acquiesced shortly before the session started. The 2007 Legislature also gave state employees pay increases – the last broad increase they received. The 2008 session began on the same high note as before in terms of state revenues. The so-called Great Recession struck later in the year, leading to a significant downturn in state revenue and multiple cuts to education and other state agencies. It could be argued, therefore, that the 2008 fiscal year budget passed during the 2007 session was a high-water mark in terms state spending. This may or may not have been a good thing depending upon one’s political viewpoint. It turns out that 2008 fiscal year is still an excellent example of high state spending, even after accounting for inflation. In 2008, the general state appropriations were $5.63 trillion. It was $6.01 trillion in 2018. It would take $6.27 trillion to match 2008 spending or to attain the same purchasing power if we assume a modest inflation rate of 1.4 per cent. This is based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics average for the time period. Remember that the Legislature also passed additional programs during that period that increased the cost of state government. For example, a pay increase for teachers in 2014, which was $100 million more, is an example. The pay increase for teachers was a wise investment, and most would agree. It increased the cost of state government, while the Legislature wasn’t appropriating enough money for local school districts to keep pace with inflation. This meant that the district schools couldn’t pay for commodities, books or electricity. Cecil Brown, Democratic Central District Public Service Commissioner, is a former state fiscal officer who was also a key member of House Appropriations Committee. He helped to compile the inflation adjusted budget numbers by using data from the Legislative Budget Committee as well as the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is evident that the state government must account for inflation in order to meet more of its responsibilities. Mississippi citizens can decide if this is good or not. It all boils down to political philosophy and perspective. Mississippi Today is a non-profit news organization that covers politics, culture, state government, and public policy. Bobby Harrison is Mississippi Today’s senior Capitol reporter.