Teacher pay increase, COVID-19 relief on top of state legislature’s agenda

Teacher pay increase, COVID-19 relief on top of agenda for state legislature

JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) - The Mississippi State Legislature is hoping to bring some relief to the state during its session.

With a better handle on the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of revenue - budget issues are at the top of the agenda.

“There’s a lot of talk of both sides of the aisle in Washington [D.C.] of additional monies being made available for unemployment for education even possibly for infrastructure,” said Sen. Joey Fillingane.

Fillingane says more pandemic relief may be on the horizon for Mississippians and businesses may be included.

“There’s some discussions of PPP loans being made available again for businesses that have employees who maybe have had losses due to the pandemic, helping pay some of their payroll expenses,” said Fillingane.

But that’s not all.

Mississippi educators may see an increase in their pay.

“They certainly deserve a pay increase, so that’s one of the big issues I think we’ll be looking at in this 2021 legislative session,” Fillingane said.

Fillingane says that is one of the legislature’s top priorites.

Recently, at the end of the last session, the Senate passed a $1,500 pay increase for teachers, but due to uncertainty on how much revenue would be available at the end of the year, that changed.

“My hope is certainly, and I know a lot of the talk around this Capitol building is what can we do and how quickly can we do it to help plus up our educator’s salaries across the state,” Fillingane said. “They’ve been on the front lines, many of them in the classroom, some of them virtually, some of them in person.”

Fillingane says there’s still a lot to be worked out, but nothing is set in stone.

“We’re going to be waiting and seeing what comes down from Washington,” said Fillingane.

Fillingane says at the end of the 90-day session, the state legislature should have answers from Washington as to what, if anything, the federal government, will do for relief.

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