WTOK – Lawmakers hold budget hearings

Mississippi lawmakers are starting to look at agencies’ budget requests for the coming year.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee is holding public hearings Monday. It’s an early step in writing a state spending plan for the 2020 budget year, which begins in July.

Mississippi’s current budget is just over $6 billion. The budget office says that for first two months of the fiscal year, state revenue was $17.8 million, or 2.6 percent, higher than predicted.



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DAILY JOURNAL – Mississippi school leader focuses on preschool, teacher help

State schools Superintendent Carey Wright focused her pitch to lawmakers Monday on more money for state-funded preschool and more ways to improve teaching and school leadership, barely glancing over the state’s underfunded school formula.

Wright asked lawmakers to provide more money for public-private preschool networks, coaches to improve reading instruction, a new statewide computer data system and efforts to help superintendents and principals. Those various proposed increases would cost about $11.5 million. She said that improving test scores and graduation rates show lawmakers are getting a good return on previous spending and should keep investing.

“It’s not just enough to ask for money,” Wright said. “The taxpayers need to know their money is well-invested.”

She only briefly mentioned the cost to fully-fund Mississippi’s K-12 funding formula, which would require a projected additional $250 million on top of the $2.2 billion the state is spending this year. Wright is required by law to ask for full funding, but the state Supreme Court has ruled lawmakers aren’t required to follow a law demanding they appropriate the full amount.



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