Speaker Gunn: health and reopening the economy are both priorities

With the recent announcement that the Mississippi legislature will reconvene on May 18th,, Speaker of the House Philip Gunn joined The Gallo Show on Tuesday to talk about what could be in store for the state’s budget.

Before the novel coronavirus outbreak, Mississippi was in “the best financial shape ever,” standing at $200 million above the revenue estimate for that point in the fiscal year.

“We were really looking good, and now, this coronavirus hit,” Gunn said.

Due to a budget depleting as each day passes, some tough financial decisions will have to be made, and Gunn believes the legislature’s top two priorities should be the healthcare system and the state economy.

“I have advised those who have asked me to realize that the number one financial obligation is the health and welfare of our citizens,” Gunn said. “A close second to me is the economy.”

State governments across the nation are struggling to strike a balance between reopening the economy and continuing to implement social distancing policies. Some small business-oriented states like Mississippi won’t be able to go too much longer without a running economy. However, the opening of the economy could result in an insuppressible spread of the virus.

With the future of the budget unknown, Gunn thinks the February approval of teacher raises across the state of Mississippi could be rescinded.

“Everything is on the table. We have to change our thinking.”