Governor Phil Bryant says he is still watching June revenue numbers and, as of Tuesday morning, had not yet decided if he will call a special session to balance the state’s budget. MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports.
The governor has already had to cut state agencies’ budgets twice this year and pull money out of the rainy day fund. On Tuesday, Governor Bryant said he should know later this week how June tax collections are faring.
"We could be short for 2016," he says. "If that happens, I have the option of calling a special session and reaching into the rainy day fund, which is what it's there for, and making sure that we finish out and balance FY2016.
"We won't hesitate to do that," he adds. "I think that's something the legislature understand that we need to make sure that we need to have a balanced budget. So if that needs to happen, we'll do it in one day and very quickly get in and out."
But House minority leader David Baria thinks the legislature should use the special session to talk about other budget issues as well. He believes a special session will need to be called since the governor has only $4.8 million dollars left that he can move from the rainy day fund without legislative approval.
Baria wrote the governor earlier this week asking that he make the call broader.
"I wrote him a letter yesterday asking him to make the call broad enough so that we can also consider the impacts of these reduced revenue collections on next year's budget," he says. "And the third thing I asked him to do was to ask him to allow us to revisit the Budget Transparency and Simplification Act, which is causing all kinds of problems throughout state agencies, and is going to result in the loss of tens of millions in federal funds."
Rep. Baria also asked the governor to provide details of suggested legislation in advance.