JACKSON, Miss. — Tax cuts, pay raises and more money for education are all apart of Governor Phil Bryant’s budget recommendation for Fiscal Year 2016.
“Due to smart budget decisions, we are now at a junction where it is time to give money back to the taxpayers of Mississippi,” Bryant said at a Monday press conference to outline his $6.2 billion spending plan.
The centerpiece of his budget, a $78.7 million Mississippi Working Families Tax Cut. “A lot of people might argue that it’s not a lot of money, as you look at the potential of $300-$400 a year. But it means a lot to a working class family.” An estimated 300,000 families could benefit from the tax cut and Bryant said most of them would put it right back into the state’s economy.
The tax credit would only be available in years when the state’s Rainy Day Fund is full and revenue estimates meet or exceed a three percent growth rate.
In addition, Bryant proposed a three percent pay raise for state troopers. “We’ve got such a large number, over 170 that are eligible for retirement,” he pointed out. “So a three percent pay increase may just be enough to keep many of them on the job.”
Public education would also get a two percent increase, pushing its total budget to $2.5 billion. Of that amount, an additional $52.7 million would be earmarked for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), the formula used to determine funding for school districts. “We think this is the largest funding of the MAEP with state supported funds in Mississippi history.”
The Governor’s total budget is based on the $5.6 billion General Fund revenue estimate adopted earlier this month by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, plus a variety of state support funds.
Legislative leaders will release their own proposed spending plan next month. A final budget must be approved by April.