JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi lawmakers are faced with the possibility of cutting state spending as much as four percent compared to what they originally budgeted for this year.
Friday, lawmakers lowered the revenue estimate for the upcoming year by $175 million.
The Mississippi Legislature has a Republican majority, the Democratic Caucus is now responding to the recent revenue estimate.
Below is the full statement from the Mississippi Legislative Democratic Caucus:
Although we anticipated Friday’s announcement of another devastating cut to the State’s budget, there is no pleasure in saying, “We told you so.” Rather, we are looking past the line items and seeing the many Mississippians whose lives will be adversely affected by the latest news. And, what we see is a very sad picture of vulnerable people whose elected leadership has played politics with their lives and livelihood.
We will say it again: Government exists to provide essential services – public safety, health care, public education, highways. Our mutual contribution to that effort is called “tax.” It is irresponsible to cut taxes when essential services cannot be provided to the people. It is also irresponsible to give away state revenues to big corporations in the form of “incentives” and “tax credits” with no thought toward eventual consequences.
At the beginning of the fiscal year, agencies were promised appropriations at a certain level, and they planned accordingly. Yesterday, agencies received another $20 million in cuts, bringing the total to about $174 million for the year. The Governor has reached his statutory limit on withdrawals from the State’s Rainy Day Fund, and will need permission from the Legislature to make further transfers.
Agencies were warned yesterday that appropriations for Fiscal Year 2018 will be budgeted at the same amount as final figures for this year, which means officials are anticipating zero growth for the coming year.
The latest estimate for next year apparently does not recognize the coming massive reduction in tax contributions from actions taken in previous sessions. When all the favored corporate tax cuts and credits are factored in, the State should expect a total revenue reduction of over $410 million annually when fully implemented.
We do not believe that the state’s fiscal affairs are being managed in a responsible, accountable way. That’s why we have introduced resolutions to request suspensions of the rules so that we can postpone the massive, politically inspired corporate tax cut of 2016 that is rolling down the hill and headed straight at us like a boulder.