Mississippi state agencies are asking lawmakers for about 730 million dollars in additional funding for fiscal year 2017, but budget writers warn that a proposed education funding amendment could force cuts.
During this year's Joint Legislative Budget Committee Hearings, lawmakers seemed less concerned with state agencies budget requests for the next fiscal year and more concerned with learning about how cuts associated with initiative 42 would affect their bottom lines.
Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves says lawmakers are trying to make sure Mississippians know what could happen if the initiative passes.
"This ballot initiative is something that's on the minds of people all across our state," says Reeves. "More and more people are learning more and more about it, and I think that's a good thing so that our voter can make an informed decision in November."
Proponents of initiative 42 argue that the threat of budget cuts are a scare tactic and that the proposal appropriates money through a phase-in process. But Institutions of Higher Learning Commissioner Glenn Boyce says he has to go by what lawmakers tell him.
"Ultimately though the biggest thing that could happen is if there was no new revenue streams to help us we would end up having to go to our students and our parents to raise tuition," Boyce says. "We'd have to raise it to a pretty high level."
Boyce makes it clear that IHL is not advocating for or against Initiative 42, and that it’s only trying to educate faculty, students and alumni about the possible negative effects that lawmakers say could have on their budget.