Gov. Bryant Releases Special Session Agenda

Imani Khayyam / Jackson Free Press

Governor Bryant called a special session to deal with lingering budget issues.

The following is a verbatim statement from Gov. Phil Bryant’s Facebook page regarding the special session scheduled for June 5, in which he details the legislation that will be considered:

The special session will start at 10 a.m. on Monday, June 5. The session will focus on state appropriations and incorporating best practices that will bolster our ability to maintain a balanced budget and healthy finances. The session should last one, perhaps two, days, in order to minimize costs to taxpayers.

The call for the special session will include:

The FORTIFY Act

• Requires a multi-year financial plan from the Legislative Budget Office. Although Mississippi currently formulates such plans, credit rating agencies have consistently favored the codification of these plans into statute.

• Increases the Rainy Day Fund cap from 7.5 percent of current fiscal year appropriations to 10 percent. Many other states have recently increased statutory caps on savings accounts due to volatile revenue trends and the need for more flexibility. Rating agencies will view this as a positive change.

• Revises the distribution of unencumbered cash, which represents a cash balance at the end of the fiscal year, so that more funds will be directed to our savings account and the Capital Expense Fund. This will allow us to save more and borrow less.

• Stops projected cash balances (unencumbered cash) in the prior year from being added to the revenue estimate to formulate the budget. Since revenue estimates, upon which funds are appropriated, are made before the end of the fiscal year, it is impossible to know how much cash balance will carry over to the next fiscal year. This takes some of the guess work out of preparing the budget and allows for the purest estimate of revenue in any given year.

• Eliminates the Budget Contingency Fund. The Budget Contingency Fund is an old account that is no longer used as originally intended. In addition, rating agencies have had complaints about how it has been used in the past.

Clarifications to the Budget Transparency and Simplification Act

This includes several technical amendments to the 2016 legislation that reformed how the state manages special budget funds. This will entail clarifying some of the bill’s language with regard to trust fund accounts and allow for federal funds to be spent on utilities and technology, where appropriate.

Appropriations

• Mississippi Department of Transportation
• Office of the Attorney General
• Office of State-aid Road

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