Last month, BP agreed to a payout of $18.7 billion in settlement money. Mississippi’s share will be $1.5 billion, with $750 million flowing directly into state coffers. The first installment is due this year.
And, predictably, the big spenders in Jackson, are already attempting to fabricate new ways to spend the settlement for pet projects around the state.
But there is one important question that must be answered before any discussion of specific appropriations: Should it be used statewide or confined to the lower six counties directly most affected?
In my opinion, the funds should go directly to only those southernmost counties that suffered because of the oil spill. And when the new legislative session convenes in January 2016, I will be introducing legislation, “The ‘Lower Six’ Relief and Restoration Act,” to prevent the money from being spent elsewhere in the state, as well as to keep it from being wasted on frivolous projects, as elected officials are inclined to do.