Lawmakers End Technicality, Sweep More Special Accounts into General Fund
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Rep. John Read, House Appropriations Chair
Desare Frazier

Mississippi lawmakers are putting more monies from special accounts into the general fund.

When Mississippi lawmakers voted to move monies earmarked for special state agency accounts into the general fund last year, some couldn't be transferred because of technicalities. Funds for programs such as the attorney general's Crime Victim Compensation and Insurance Integrity programs fell into that category. But an amendment passed during the special session to sweep more special accounts into the general fund. Republican John Read of Gautier, chairs the House Appropriations Committee.

"It frees up in the final product roughly $9.8 million of special funds that go into the general fund to be utilized in the budgetary process," said Read.

Some legislators are concerned state agencies that relied on special accounts to pay for programs won't get that money back. House Democrat Robert Johnson of Natchez.

"If this money that is designated by statute to go to these people if for some reason there's a need somewhere else that special fund money that's now in the general fund may not go to the attorney general's office is that correct?" said Johnson.  "That's a possibility," said Read.

Lawmakers passed a $22.9 million budget for the attorney general's office Monday, without special accounts for programs included. Legislators say he can shift monies around within his budget to fund those items. Republican Joey Fillingane of Sumrall, chairs the Senate Finance Committee.  

"We are elected to run the budgets and if you're taking monies out that never get to the legislature for any oversight then that can be problematic," said Fillingane.

Legislators will allocate the $9.8 million swept out of special funds into the general fund during next year's legislative session.