Mississippi's state budget is on the upswing due to an increase in tax revenues according to the state economist. MPB's Desare Frazier talks to lawmakers about what it means for the 2020 legislative session.
Mississippi's revenues is up slightly including corporate and sales taxes. State Economist Darrin Webb says he's increased the tax revenue estimate for 2020 by nearly $138 million dollars. He says the overall budget is just under $6 billion for the coming legislative session.
"If you look at the previous few years, you've seen a gradual building of momentum. We're still not growing super strong by any means, but we're seeing gradual improvement in the state's economy," said Webb.
Republican Senator Dean Kirby of Pearl is on the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. He says the state is in the best position its ever been in with a Rainy Day Fund of more than $555 million-according to the Legislative Budget Office. During this year's campaign season some candidates promised teacher pay raises.
"I think that we all had intended to do that anyway. We'd like to get close to the southeastern average if we can as quickly as we can," said Kirby.
House Democrat Earle Banks of Jackson is on the Appropriations Committee. He wants to fully fund education. Banks also wants to help local communities with infrastructure.
"I think we need to have a source where we dedicate the money to a local bridge and road repair program," said Banks.
Outgoing Republican and Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden of Meridian says it's important to keep the revenue increase in perspective.
"There's good signs to it, certainly don't want to down play it, but it's not like the legislature is just going to be flush with money that's just not the case," said Snowden.
The 2020 Legislative Session begins January 7.