Governor Phil Bryant can now pull an unlimited amount of money from the state’s rainy day fund to cover a shortfall in the fiscal year 2016 budget.
After hours of debate, the Mississippi House of Representatives approved a plan that allows the Governor to dip into the state’s cash reserves. The Senate approved the measure Tuesday.
The plan was the only measure taken up during the second extraordinary session of the 2016 legislature.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman, Republican, Herb Frierson of Poplarville says giving the Governor the ability to pull from the rainy day fund is appropriate.
But on the floor of the House, Democrats questioned the propriety of allowing the Governor to pull an unspecified amount from the state’s reserve funds, leading to a particularly contentious round of debate between Democratic Representative Omeria Scott of Laurel and Frierson.
“You all Republican, conservatives are giving this man unlimited…”
“Questions and Answers, Lady.”
“Are you giving him unlimited access to the Working Cash Stabilization Fund?”
“For the second time, yes!”
“And you conservatives don’t have a problem with that?”
“No, we don’t.”
“Okay, as we go forward…
“And you had Democrat governors do the same thing!”
In all, Democrats offered several unsuccessful amendments to the measure that would have secured additional funding for state services like mental health, emergency response and water and sewer inspections. Republicans say they expect the Governor will pull no more than 60 million dollars for the FY 16 budget.