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HARRISON: Revenue shortfall helped Gov....

HARRISON: Revenue shortfall helped Gov. Bryant change his mind on lottery, internet sales tax

By: Magnolia Tribune - February 10, 2017

BOBBY HARRISON: Revenue shortfall forcing differing thinking from Mississippi leaders

Is it any surprise the governor has changed his mind on the lottery and the internet sales tax considering he has been forced to cut budgets four times within a 12-month period and dip into the rainy day fund twice? The total of the four cuts, spanning one calendar year and over two fiscal years, is more than $170 million. Plus, the governor has transferred more than $100 million from the rainy day fund to prevent the need for additional cuts.

And there is speculation he will have to make another round of cuts before the fiscal year ends. In addition, the Legislature has cut the budgets for multiple agencies during the same time period and some agencies, including Medicaid and Corrections, are saying they need a deficit appropriation from the Legislature to make it through the current fiscal year.

Many Democrats cite the multiple tax cuts, totaling more than $300 million in recent years, for the sluggish revenue collections. And larger tax cuts, passed during the 2016 session totaling more than $400 million (the largest in the state’s history), will be phased in during the coming years.

To further complicate issues, there is a growing demand, led by the Mississippi Economic Council, that the Legislature and governor make a significant investment in infrastructure improvement.

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This article was produced by Y'all Politics staff.