continues to grow as a result of conservative policy-making. This year, revenue
is projected to increase by 2.6 percent, and we have record amounts in the
state’s cash reserves. Because of this growth, in Fiscal Year 2020, I recommend
to the Legislature that it cut no agency’s budget and that we make investments
in agencies and programs that will lead to long-term prosperity in Mississippi.
first and most important step to take in budgeting for the future is
saving. Setting aside 2 percent of the
estimated revenue is not only smart financial practice, but it helps the
state’s credit rating. When I entered
office in January 2012, the Working Cash Stabilization Reserve Fund, better
known as the Rainy Day Fund, had a balance of only $148 million. In this year of growth, my recommendation
sets aside $116 million, of which nearly half would go to the Rainy Day Fund,
bringing our savings accounts to over $400 million. This fiscal responsibility should be
maintained until we reach the statutory limit of the Rainy Day Fund, which is
10 percent of the state’s general fund revenue.
savings would not have been possible without the Financial and Operational
Responses That Invigorate Future Years (FORTIFY) Act passed during the 2017
special legislative session. Without the
FORTIFY Act, $55.4 million would have carried over into FY 2019, as beginning
cash, and spent, instead of being deposited into Mississippi’s reserve accounts
at the end of FY 2018. It is remarkable
the state finished FY 2018 with nearly $124 million surplus, and placed $118.3
million of that amount into reserve accounts.
year we must spend $75 million of our additional revenue on the Public Employee
Retirement System (PERS). Although the PERS board raised the rate despite some
opposition, the state’s funding of that increase remains vital for the health
of the pension system, the economic security of our state employees, and the
credit rating of the State of Mississippi.
I also ask that $3.5 million be spent towards the Mississippi Highway
Safety Patrol’s separate retirement system.
Teachers are the men and women who are
educating tomorrow’s leaders, and they deserve to be better compensated. In this budget, I recommend a $50 million pay
raise for our state’s public school teachers phased in over two years. This will be the second pay raise in five
years. Legislative leadership continues
to advocate for our teachers, and I look forward to working with the
Legislature on this new plan.
The state’s correctional officers lag
$4,000 in pay behind the regional average, making it difficult to recruit and
retain personnel in our correctional facilities. For that reason I recommend just over $7
million for the Department of Corrections to bring its employees’ salaries in
line with our neighboring states. This
increase will ultimately make our state’s prisons safer for employees,
offenders, and the communities where they are located.
I am also proposing that $1 million go
to the Department of Corrections for workforce training programs for those who
are incarcerated. Among the best ways to
ensure that offenders do not return to prison is to make sure they have the
ability to get a job when they leave.
Additionally, I recommend that $6 million go to the first phase of repairing
Unit 29 at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, the facility for close custody
We have the important responsibility
to take care of the children in our state’s custody. I am asking the Legislature to fund the
Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services $26 million above last
year’s allocation to provide the necessary resources for these vulnerable
children to bring the state in compliance with the court-ordered staffing and
technical needs. Of this expenditure,
$400,000 is for retaining social work students who have a desire to go into
public service. A stipend will be
created for eligible undergraduate and graduate students interested in a career
at the MDCPS.
In another effort to retain our best
and brightest students, I am proposing an $8.5 million increase for the
Institutions of Higher Learning’s Student Financial Aid program. When students stay in state for school, they
are more likely to take on a career in the state. To fund the future of Mississippi we must
commit these additional resources.
We also strive to retain our state’s
physicians in Mississippi. The Rural
Physician Scholarship Program is one that allows our doctors who want to live
and work in rural areas an incentive to do so.
I ask that the Legislature allocate $600,000 to fund and grow the
scholarship to cover the rising costs of medical school as well as recruit more
students to enroll in the program.
To keep the motoring public safe on
our highways, it is important that we fund a trooper school. With nearly one-third of Mississippi Highway
Safety Patrolmen eligible to retire today, this $7 million expenditure is
critical. Furthermore, I ask the
Legislature devote almost $1.5 million to the State Crime Lab’s Medical
Examiner. Currently there are two doctors
who conduct over 1,500 autopsies per year, including over 300 homicides that
must be investigated. Adding medical
examiners will increase the pace of investigations and help bring closure to
families who want to know what happened to their loved ones.
I have proposed spending $1 million at
the Department of Health for disease prevention. With the transmission of syphilis on the rise
nationally and Hepatitis A breaking out locally, I am charging the Department
of Health to immediately expand efforts to find, treat, and prevent the spread
of disease in Mississippi.
A topic that we often do not discuss
except in times of tragedy is mental health.
To bring this topic into the mainstream and to help those struggling
with mental illness, I am asking the Legislature to allocate an additional $1
million to the Department of Mental Health for community-based services. These services will allow those with certain
mental disorders to remain in the community through mobile treatment.
past August, I called a special session of the Mississippi Legislature to
address our state’s infrastructure needs. In a strong display of
bipartisanship, legislators were able address these needs in a comprehensive
manner. During these historic five days the Legislature passed
legislation to infuse over $1 billion into infrastructure over five years
without raising taxes by using revenues from a newly-created state lottery,
internet sales, sports betting, and revenue bonds. Legislation was also enacted to justly divide
the BP economic damages between the lower six counties and the remainder of the
has been a historic year in Mississippi, and the future looks bright. What we
have accomplished economically is a success, and economic development, job
growth, and revenue have all taken a step in the right direction. This Executive Budget Recommendation
highlights the needs in our state to keep our citizens and our communities both
safe and prosperous. It will enhance our
educational institutions, continue to reform our corrections and criminal
justice systems, and increase the protection of our foster children. Now is the time to work together and ensure
these recommendations are properly implemented.
FY 2020 Executive Budget Recommendation
2020 Budget Performance Measures