The state's fiscal year is winding down
and some lawmakers are already thinking about what to do with an
extra $10 million that was taken in over earlier projections.
From July 2006 to last month, the state took in $4.15 billion.
That's $10 million more than projected for the fiscal year ending
Officials say individual and corporate income tax growth related
to the recovery from Hurricane Katrina resulted in the extra money.
"We're going into the next fiscal year in good financial
shape," state economist Phil Pepper said.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Johnny Stringer,
D-Montrose, hopes a healthy year of tax collections can offset
higher college tuition costs.
If lawmakers can afford to give universities a "fair amount of
money," Stringer wants to prohibit the College Board from raising
tuition next year.
"It's just a tax on these students and these parents," he
Tuition at Mississippi's eight state universities will go up an
average of 6 percent beginning in August. College Board members
voted last month for the hike despite a 14.3 percent funding
increase being handed down from the Legislature.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jack Gordon predicted
there will be enough funding in next year's budget for schools and
"It looks like everything will be fine and revenues will be
good," Gordon, D-Okolona, said.
Mississippi isn't the only state seeing higher-than-expected
revenues, according to a www.clarionledger.come article.
Higher revenues started appearing nationwide in 2005 and have
continued because of a "stronger economy, unemployment figures,
housing growth, relatively low inflation, and an overall consumer
confidence and purchasing behavior," said Arturo Perez, fiscal
analyst for the national conference.
"The question is, are there signs of a slowdown?" he said.
"The jury's still out."