Special Session for Mississippi Legislature to begin Monday

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — The Mississippi Legislature will join for a special session on Monday.

Gov. Phil Bryant is expecting the session that was scheduled to aprove a few remaining budgets to last only a few days.

“The session should last one, perhaps two, days, in order to minimize costs to taxpayers,” Gov. Bryant said.

Appropriations  are expected to be set for The Mississippi Department of Transportation, The Office of the Attorney General and the Office of State-aid Road.

Below is a list of other things the legislature is expected to tackle:

 The FORTIFY Act:

  • Requires a multi-year financial plan from the Legislative Budget Office. Although Mississippi currently formulates such plans, credit rating agencies have consistently favored the codification of these plans into statute.
  • Increases the Rainy Day Fund cap from 7.5 percent of current fiscal year appropriations to 10 percent. Many other states have recently increased statutory caps on savings accounts due to volatile revenue trends and the need for more flexibility. Rating agencies will view this as a positive change.
  • Revises the distribution of unencumbered cash, which represents a cash balance at the end of the fiscal year, so that more funds will be directed to our savings account and the Capital Expense Fund. This will allow us to save more and borrow less.
  • Stops projected cash balances (unencumbered cash) in the prior year from being added to the revenue estimate to formulate the budget. Since revenue estimates, upon which funds are appropriated, are made before the end of the fiscal year, it is impossible to know how much cash balance will carry over to the next fiscal year. This takes some of the guess work out of preparing the budget and allows for the purest estimate of revenue in any given year.
  • Eliminates the Budget Contingency Fund. The Budget Contingency Fund is an old account that is no longer used as originally intended. In addition, rating agencies have had complaints about how it has been used in the past.

Clarifications to the Budget Transparency and Simplification Act.

This includes several technical amendments to the 2016 legislation that reformed how the state manages special budget funds. This will entail clarifying some of the bill’s language with regard to trust fund accounts and allow for federal funds to be spent on utilities and technology, where appropriate.

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