This is a news release from the office of Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves
JACKSON – State revenues for the recent budget year came in slightly ahead of expectations, showing Mississippi's economy is growing slowly and requires caution in spending, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said today.
In the new budget year, which starts today, state government will only spend recurring revenues on recurring expenses for the first time in more than a decade while filling the state's Rainy Day Fund, Lt. Gov. Reeves said. The 2015 Fiscal Year budget increases funding for public schools, community colleges, universities and public safety, and keeps funding steady for other state services.
"State government is finally doing what taxpayers do every day in their homes and businesses: spending what it takes in, prioritizing needs and saving money for a rainy day," Lt. Gov. Reeves said.
The 2014 Fiscal Year ended with the state collecting $5.25 billion in general funds, only slightly above estimates. The state's Rainy Day Fund will be filled to its statutory limit, $409 million.
"By saving, the state can be prepared for a down economy like we saw in Fiscal Year 2010 when the budget was slashed several times during the year because of the Great Recession," Lt. Gov. Reeves said. "With President Obama's continued mishandling of the economy, states need to be prepared to deal with any slowdowns in the economy and potential revenue dips."
Fiscal Year 2015 budget
The nearly $6 billion budget that takes effect today:
"I will not stop looking through state agency purchases and ending wasteful spending," Lt. Gov. Reeves said. "Reinstating this moratorium can save taxpayers even more money and lets agency bureaucrats know we are serious about getting government spending under control."
A new teacher pay plan takes effect today with current teachers seeing almost $1,500 more in their paychecks as part of an effort to make salaries more competitive and attract the best and brightest individuals to the field. By July 2015, current teachers will see a total $3,500 more in their checks through the pay plan and statutory raises.
way to improve education in Mississippi is to put a quality teacher in every
classroom," Lt. Gov. Reeves said. "This plan
raises starting pay to attract the best and brightest into education and establishes
the first true merit pay program in the state."
The merit pay plan rewards teachers and staff at schools that show academic improvement each year under the School Recognition Program implemented in Fiscal Year 2017.
Today also renews the Mississippi Community-Oriented Policing Program with $3.5 million. The program, proposed by Lt. Gov. Reeves last year, provides communities with a matching grant to place officers on school campuses. In Fiscal Year 2014, a total of 220 officers were placed at schools across Mississippi through the MCOPS program.
Legislation in effect today
Other bills taking effect today include:
"The Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act ensures government cannot interfere with Mississippians' rights to exercise religion in their daily lives and their business," Lt. Gov. Reeves said.
"I remain committed to protecting every Mississippians' Second Amendment rights," Lt. Gov. Reeves said. "I'm thankful for the support of the National Rifle Association on the many other strong Second Amendment protections we've passed this year."