The current year’s state budget is about $6.3 billion, and state economist Darrin Webb told lawmakers Monday that trends point toward slow economic growth. That would translate to a modest increase in state tax collections.
“One area the state continues to struggle is in income growth,” Webb said.
State Superintendent of Education Carey Wright is requesting an additional $250 million, a 9.6 percent budget increase for elementary and secondary schools.
Medicaid director David Dzielak is requesting an additional $72 million, which is about a 7.4 percent increase in state funding for the government health insurance program for the needy.
The Department of Mental Health is requesting an additional $29 million, which is about a 4.7 percent increase, executive director Diana Mikula said.
Several times during the hearing Monday, lawmakers asked agency directors about budget cuts that would be needed if a judge orders the state to put more money into a budget formula known as the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. The formula was put into law in 1997, but has been fully funded only two years since then.