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Lawmakers React to Governor Bryant's State of the State Address
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Governor Bryant Giving His State of the State Address
Desare Frazier

Governor Phil Bryant tackled the state's revenue projections for 2016 at the outset of his State of the State Address. 

"The Revenue Estimating Committee projected a growth of 2.2 percent or about a $124 million dollar increase," said Bryant.

Bryant says revenues didn't meet projections. He's taking $35 million from the Rainy Day Fund and state agency's are cutting budgets 1.5 percent. He says an additional cut maybe needed if revenues continue to fall short. Republican Representative John Moore from Brandon.

"He doesn't have any other choice. If revenues are declining the budget has to be cut and I think as a constitutional obligation that he has, make sure we don't get out of kilter with the numbers," said Moore.

Bryant touted funding for K-12 public schools has increased by $400 million. Democratic Senator John Horhn, from Jackson, wants to help low performing public schools.

"No attention seemed to be placed on the hardest to serve schools that are low on resources that may be "D" or "F" rated," said Horhn.

Mississippi is facing a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit for not protecting children in foster care. Bryant wants to remove Family and Children's Services from under the Department of Human Services, and make it a separate agency, that reports to him. Republican Senator Josh Harkins of Flowood.

"I think it's a wise decision. I mean I think it gets directly under him. He reports to the governor. The governor can stay really close to the agency and find out kinda what's going on and get updated," said Harkins.

Bryant talked about balancing a fuel tax increase to improve roads and bridges with a tax cut for working families. Representative Gregory Holloway a Democrat from Hazlehurst, questions the idea.

"He said he did not want to place a burden on the people of Mississippi. But how do you do that if you increase fuel tax," said Holloway.

Senator John Horhn said he had hoped to hear Governor Bryant address the state flag issue.