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Lawmakers Adopt Proposed Budget with Education Funding Incre

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Lawmakers Adopt Proposed Budget with Education Funding Increase
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House Speaker Philip Gunn Holding Recommended Budget
Associated Press

Mississippi Lawmakers are recommending the state allocate less money for the upcoming fiscal year. But as MPB's Desare Frazier reports, some funding increases are on list.

Mississippi public schools could see a $2.3 million boost in funding for the next fiscal year, bringing the allocation for the adequate education program to $2.3 billion. Yesterday lawmakers on the Joint Legislative Budget Committee adopted a proposed budget for the 2020 Legislative session. Teachers may receive a raise but Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn of Clinton says it's too soon to say how much.

"We'll have to see how the revenues unfold. They're looking pretty good this year so far. I got a report yesterday. I think we're $35 million over for the month and $131 million maybe for the year," said Gunn.

Gunns says the state is in better financial shape than it has ever been. Yet, the budget is slightly less for next year at just under $6.3 billion. Most state agencies will receive the same funding as this fiscal year. State Troopers will receive a salary increase as well as cadets in Trooper School. Out-going Democratic Senator Willie Simmons of Cleveland says the state has $1.2 billion in unallocated funds. He says some of it should be used for local infrastructure.

"The legislature in January with the new leadership can look into that unallocated money $1.2 billion and push $15 to $30 million into that program and take care of the local government as far as its bridges are concerned," said Simmons.

Simmons will be sworn-in next month as the new Transportation Commissioner for the Central District. The proposed budget calls for decreasing spending to community colleges by 3.6 percent. The budget is subject to change during the legislative session which begins January 7.