Analysis: Miss. ability to borrow still adequate

Mississippi could borrow $1.8 billion to use for new buildings, highways and economic development incentives over the next five years and rising state revenue probably could support that amount of borrowing, a report by Treasurer Lynn Fitch suggests.

The Republican state treasurer compiled a debt-affordability study after agencies that rate Mississippi’s bonds said the state needed a roadmap for future borrowing.

“This is a critical tool to assess the debt, future payments on the debt and the amount of bonds that will be required in future years,” Fitch said as she unveiled the report earlier this month. Fitch did not call for either an increase or decrease in borrowing.

But despite still-low interest rates, don’t count on a surge in borrowing while Lt. Gov Tate Reeves is around.

“The agencies that gave their wish lists for the report obviously haven’t paid attention to the lieutenant governor’s mandate that we reduce the overall debt burden of our taxpayers,” said Reeves spokeswoman, Laura Hipp. “The days of just ‘bonding’ every project every state agency wants are over.”

Mississippi already has made some efforts to impose a sense of structure on the way it borrows money.

SFGate
3/17/14