Governor Phil Bryant is making another round of mid-year budget cuts. He's ordering state agencies to cut $43 million and taking another $7 million from the state's rainy day fund. This makes the third cut since last July. Bryant, a Republican, says tax revenues are continuing to fall short of projections.
Legislators say they are disappointed with the cuts, but acknowledge the Governor has to balance the state budget. But they disagree on why the revenue is falling short in the first place. MPB's Desare Frazier spoke with several lawmakers on the subject. First, Senator Gray Tollison, a Republican from Oxford.
Senator Hob Bryan, a Democrat from Amory, says revenue shortfalls should be expected, since the state has offered millions as incentives to businesses to locate in Mississippi.
This is the first budget experience for Representative Abe Hudson. The Democrat representing part of the Delta says it's important for the state to raise the money it needs to provide necessary services.
A Mississippi researcher is speaking out against legislation that could put guns back into the hands of some mentally ill people. Republican Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker both voted to overturn an Obama-era gun regulation. The rule prohibits some mentally ill recipients of federal benefits from purchasing firearms. University of Southern Mississippi professor, Michael Anestis, says overturning the rule is dangerous.
The US House and Senate have both passed a joint resolution disapproving of the restriction. President Donald Trump is expected to sign it. In a statement, Senator Roger Wicker says he does believe in keeping guns out of the hands of those who would harm themselves or others. But he says this rule - quote - "goes far beyond any arguably reasonable regulations on gun ownership."
As the legislative session pushes forward, a comprehensive plan to address the state's crumbling infrastructure seems less and less likely. That's troublesome news to Melinda McGrath. She's executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation. MPB's Desare Frazier caught up with McGrath at the State Capitol.