Legislative session convenes: How you can stay informed on the state budget this year

January 9th, 2015

As legislators convene, they will begin to tackle education funding, tax reform, and many other issues that affect Mississippi’s working families.   Below are some things to look out for during the session. You can track these issues by using MEPC’s Budget Toolkit which has links to MEPC analysis, original budget documents, as well as proposed legislation. Here are just a few of the issues we will be covering throughout the session.


Governor Bryant has proposed a tax cut for working families that is related to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. See our initial analysis here. We expect to see proposals from other state leaders as well. A key thing to look out for with tax reform proposals is whether or not there is a fiscal note attached. A fiscal note provides an estimate of the costs of a proposal and allows legislators and the public to weigh it against other priorities.   By law, if a fiscal note is completed on a bill, it should be attached to the bill on the legislative website. In the past two legislative sessions, despite passing over 50 bills that enact or extend a tax break, there have been no fiscal notes posted for the public.  


The Mississippi Adequate Education Program may sound over-technical, but underfunding it is not inconsequential. MAEP is the “meat and potatoes” of our school funding. Funding new auxiliary education programs will not make up for underfunding the day-to-day operations of our schools. Some things to look out for include the level of MAEP funding (it has been underfunded over $1.5 billion since 2008), and the legislature’s treatment of the proposed constitutional amendment to require adequate education funding. For higher education, we will be looking for expansions to state financial aid programs to help with rising tuition costs.


Both the Governor’s Budget and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee recommendation would not provide adequate Medicaid funding to cover its growing costs, virtually ensuring the need for a mid-year deficit appropriation. Further, Mississippi continues to forgo participation in Medicaid expansion that would provide health coverage for over 100,000 low income workers, help our struggling rural hospitals, and create an estimated 9,000 jobs.

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