Republican-Controlled Mississippi Goes on Spending Spree

Republican-Controlled Mississippi Goes on Spending Spree
April 8, 2014

Mississippi’s budget has increased for the third consecutive year, even though Republicans run the governor’s office, the House and the Senate.

The state will spend $6 billion in fiscal 2015, which begins July 1. That’s an increase of 18.8 percent from 2014′s budget of $5.05 billion. State revenue was predicted to rise by 2.7 percent this fiscal year.

The state spent $4.75 billion in 2013.

According to Seethespending.org, Mississippi’s budget has been on the rise since decreasing in 2010 and 2011, even though the Republicans controlled the governor’s mansion since 2004 and the Legislature since 2012.

The three biggest rising line items for 2015 are:

Mississippi Highway Patrol — Gov. Phil Bryant asked for, and received, $6.9 million for a new trooper school that would train a class of 60 troopers in an attempt to cover a shortfall of 150. The state will also be replacing 73 of its oldest cars and buying more than 500 tactical vests.

Fiscal 2014 spending: $50 million

Fiscal 2015 spending: $62.9 million

Rate of increase: 25.8 percent

Difference: $12.9 million

Public Safety — The Legislature approved an increase of 21.2 percent, with the state providing $7 million for drug courts after allocating no money in 2014′s budget. The Legislature also approved $2 million to hire 16 new district attorneys for areas with big case backlogs.

Fiscal 2014 spending: $72.9 million

Fiscal 2015 spending: $88.35 million

Rate of increase: 21.2 percent

Difference: $15.45 million

Medicaid — For the second year in a row, Medicaid has eaten up a bigger part of the state’s budget pie. Part of that increase was due to a $4.4 million cut in the Medicaid Disproportionate Hospital Payments program under the Affordable Care Act.

Fiscal 2014 spending: $840.1 million

Fiscal 2015 spending: $885.4 million

Rate of increase: 5.4 percent

Difference: $45.3 million

Steve Wilson (swilson@watchdog.org) reports for Watchdog.org, where this article first appeared.