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Miss. state legislature has extra $1B in discretionary budget than expected

Published: Jul. 24, 2021 at 9:02 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) - The Mississippi State Legislature brought in an extra $1 billion dollars than expected in revenue during the fiscal year 2021, according to state Sen. Joey Fillingane.

“All the taxes combined that the state takes in in a given month, we’re over a billion dollars to the good more than we thought we would have taken in at this point of the year,” said Sen. Joey Fillingane, R- District 41.

According to the senator, the state legislature appropriated about $6 billion dollars for the discretionary budget for FY 21. However, with the $1 billion dollar increase, that budget now sits at about $7 billion dollars.

The question is: How did the state collect that much extra revenue?

“Have that many more people gone into business? Have that many more people gotten pay increases at their jobs? Some of that for sure has happened,” Fillingane said.

According to Fillingane, while it would be nice to think it’s because Mississippi’s economy is booming, that’s not the whole reality.

“You would love to be able to say the economy is just doing that great right now...,” Fillingane said. “I think a lot of it is very largely due to these extra millions of dollars that the federal government has sent down from DC to help tie people over through the pandemic.”

Fillingane thinks spending the extra billion on recurring expenses may not be the best method.

“If you were to want to give a school-teacher a nice pay raise, which they deserve, but if you do that with one-time monies, you would be able to pay for it this year, but then what happens in 2023 and 2024 and thereon and thereafter,” Fillingane said.

He says things that can be paid for at one time should be the focus.

“More or less things like infrastructure, rural broadband, buildings, those sorts of things,” Sen. Fillingane said.

The state legislature will reconvene in January and will allocate the extra funds at that time unless called into a special session before then.

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