Governor Phil Bryant recently outlined his budget priorities and recommendations for 2020. Among a long list of items was a teacher pay raise, increasing public safety funding and pay raises for the MDOC, as well as, protecting the state’s retirement system.
“If projections are right, and now we are coming in ahead of projections, there will be additional funding available to invest,” Bryant said. “Almost $45 million just now and we have got a long way to go until March when we will get the final numbers, but when you look at this budget, it has $143 million more year to year that is projected to come in and we are $45 million ahead of those projections.”
The teacher pay raise would cost the state $50 million and would be spread out over two years. Bryant said the state’s revenue is expected to increase by 2.6% and he has recommended putting away 2% of that into the Rainy Day Fund.
“We will put 2% of all of the $5.8 billion into the Rainy Day fund and putting our savings account over $400 million,” Bryant said.
Mental health is also an area that Bryant said the budget needs to focus on in 2020 as it is closely related to opioid abuse and overdose deaths.
“We’re going to have to increase the money to mental health in the state of Mississippi, we are going to have to give them more flexibility as you can for community and home care throughout the state as the federal government requires,” Bryant said. “We have received additional funding and will, I think, receive more funding from the federal government for the treatment of opioids.”