Lawmakers filed conference reports by 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night on conference weekend. This was the first glimpse of the state’s budget to be seen all together.
Several dummy bills were filed due to a lack of an agreement between the chambers on final numbers. However, with any good budget process, those have since been solidified and a full budget has been presented.
The total budget for the state will be close to $21 billion, with the majority of that coming from the federal government. The state will fund roughly $6 billion.
Earlier in the year, members agreed on a $1,000 teacher pay raise, a roughly $51 million budget item. At the end of the session a $6.9 million raise for state employees was also approved to begin next year.
Sen. Briggs Hopson, Chairman of Appropriations, indicated that money would be issued based off of market value for those jobs and that Executive Directors would not be eligible. The last time a raise was given to state employees was a 3% raise in 2019. This could also include a 1% raise for university and community college staff.
In total, the raises would make up nearly $13.9 million of the state’s budget. Lawmakers assured that $23 million would be set aside in order to cover employees’ health insurance.
Other budgets determined include the Mississippi State Department of Health, HB 1401, that will receive $33.3 million from the state General Fund and $518.6 million from special funds in the State Treasury.
Education, HB 1387, will receive a massive boost from the state with a 4% increase, or $102 million to its annual budget. This year, the general fund will shell out $2.3 billion to the Mississippi State Department of Education. Special funds for the department will reach $2.2 billion. Including the funds received from the federal government you could argue that Mississippi’s education program received an additional $1 billion for FY2022.
Programs like the Early Learning Collaborative were beefed up, putting $16 million toward young childhood development, doubling its prior appropriation.
The Mississippi Department of Corrections, SB 2915, will receive $323.5 million from the state general fund and just over $30 million from special funds. Those dollars will be divided by employee salaries throughout the department and correctional facilities.
MDOC is also provided an additional $500,000 in funds for transitional housing for inmates post release.
The Department of Public Safety, SB 2916, received $107.5 million of general funds, with $4.3 million of those funds to be allocated to programs like the State Crime Stoppers fund, Adult Driver Training, Information Exchange Network Fund, The Forensics lab, Law Enforcement and Firefighters Death benefits trust fund as well as Law Enforcement Standards Training, to name a few.
The Division of Medicaid, HB 1400, was given a total budget of just over $6 billion with $837 million coming out the state general fund. Medicaid is primarily funded by the federal government.
With those funds they increased the Elderly and Disabled home community waiver by $1 million and the Assisted Living home community-based waiver by $800k. Lawmakers also fully funded the Delta Health Alliance at $1 million. The bill was passed in both chambers but held on a motion to reconsider, until the Medicaid Tech bill is presented.
The Department of Revenue, SB 2923, was allocated $42.1 million from the state general fund which covers the expenses for DOR including Homestead Exemption Division, the Motor Vehicle Comptroller functions, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division and the Bureau of Telecommunications. Other monies that could be made available and credited to DOR equal $22.8 million.
Of those dollars appropriated in the additional monies, $1 million is to be given to the Capitol Expense Fund and allocated in a manner determined by the State Treasurer’s office for facility repairs, plus $1.2 million for IT equipment.
The Mississippi Emergency Management agency, SB 2917, will receive just under $4 million out of the state General Fund and $36.3 million in special funds, if necessary. These funds go directly to the salaries of 123 full time employees and 71 part time workers. This does not account for any federal funds appropriated to the department.