From the Mississippi Democrat Party email dated 9/12/16:
“Continued tax cuts, mostly to business entities, have led to declining state revenues and deep cuts to state agencies, threatening to send Mississippi over the precipice into a financial disaster.” (Clarion Ledger, MS BUDGET CRISIS)
In only three months into this fiscal year, Governor Phil Bryant made budget cuts of $57 million. Bryant went on to say “it is the Governor’s statutory responsibility to balance Mississippi’s budget.” The sad fact, however, is that even with these cuts, the General Fund is still not balanced, as these cuts only cover a $56.8 million calculation mistake the legislative leadership team blamed on “staff.” More deep cuts should be expected before the end of the year.
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This round of cuts does not cover the millions of dollars in budget shortfalls in tax collections for July and August. Further, Attorney General Jim Hood warned through an Official Opinion that $79.4 million of special funds improperly swept into the General Fund by legislative leadership could not be spent as appropriated. Even Bryant’s director of the Department of Finance and Administration is following Hood’s lead!
If the General Fund is to be balanced today, all of these funds need to be accounted for. Anything else is either misleading the public or some kind of fuzzy math.
Even after eliminating 1,482 job positions and dismissing 6,830 state workers, the majority leadership still increased General Fund spending during the last four years by 26 percent. The Legislature passes bills and Governor Bryant signs them. So much for their “shrinking government” theory.
Democrats have warned that 40 tax cuts over the past few years would get us to this point, a budget mess! This has led to dipping into the Rainy Day Fund, using one-time money to balance the General Fund, and watching our credit rating diminish.
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It is time to listen to the public, work across party lines, and solve the fiscal problems created by this majority leadership. It is time for a logical and reasoned approach to governing. We are waiting on the Republicans to join us at the table.
Chairman Bobby Moak
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