Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and other Senate members of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee appear to be playing political games that could cost state agencies severely.
Recently, state economists reported new revenue projections for the coming year. While House and Senate leaders agreed to raise the revenue projection for next fiscal year by $97 million, Senate leaders blocked an effort to add $60 million of revenue to the current year.
House Appropriations Chairman Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville, said it best when he said “leaving $60 million on the table … like it doesn’t exist” makes absolutely no sense.
The Senate reasoning, offered by Senate President Pro tem Terry Brown, R-Columbus, was that they doubted whether or not the money would be there. Reeves, calling the current state economy fragile, cited a recent example when legislative leaders increased the current-year revenue number but collections fell short, leaving then-Gov. Haley Barbour to enact painful, across-the-board cuts.