New year begins with tighter fiscal control, lower taxes

By Tate Reeves
Special to The Mississippi Press
This weekend marks the beginning of a new fiscal year, and Mississippians will see many new laws take effect to reduce government spending, cut taxes on job creators, improve education and protect families.

The Mississippi Legislature concluded a successful session this spring with the adoption of a $5.5 billion budget — on time, no less — that set aside money in savings, reduced taxpayers’ debt burden and prioritized education funding, including increases in the Mississippi Adequate Education program and community colleges.

Agencies begin spending the new budget Sunday, the start of the fiscal year.

A moratorium on new car purchases was one key effort approved by the Legislature to limit new spending. No new state cars will be purchased this year, though law enforcement is exempted as needed.
This will result in roughly $12 million in savings next year and will reduce the state’s fleet by 2 percent annually over a three-year period. Taxpayers own almost 7,500 vehicles — the equivalent of one vehicle for every four state employees.

The Legislature took an important initial step to reduce taxpayers’ debt burden by not having a “bond bill” for the first time in anyone’s memory. Now is the time for the state to stop charging the taxpayers’ credit card for recurring expenses.

Tate Reeves
7/1/12