On Tuesday June 29, 2016 the Governor called the Legislature into Special Session. State law requires the State budget to be balanced at the end of the Fiscal year. The purpose of the session was to meet a budget shortfall estimated to be about $60 million before the end of Fiscal Year 2016 on June 30, 2016.
Prior to the special session Governor Bryant made two rounds of budget cuts and withdrew $45 million in rainy day funds. The fund which is officially called the “Cash-Stabilization Reserve Fund” has a $349 million balance.
Although tax collections were running more than $200 million below original expectations, revenue actually grew this fiscal year over the last fiscal year. Unfortunately it was not at the rate projected. As a side note these projections for revenue were set back in the fall of 2014. Likewise this fall, projections will be made for 2018 budget.
We moved the bill through the Senate after a few hours of debate and sent the bill to the House. The Democrats, who seem to always want another day of pay, blocked the vote on the first day via a procedural vote saying they wanted to meet with Department of Finance and Department of Revenue officials. Incidentally, there are questions as to if they actually did meet. By House rules they couldn’t take the measure up again until the next day, resulting in costing the taxpayers an additional $30,000.
In other matters I am honored to say I have received a grade of “A” and designation as a 2016 Business and Job Champion by the Business & Industry Political Education Committee (BIPEC). BIPEC grades legislators on how they vote on business, jobs, and economic growth issues.
I am also honored to receive an “A” rating from Empower Mississippi, an education reform group that grades legislators on their voting record on bills that would improve the quality of education in Mississippi.