THE HEADS OF THE AGENCIES MEET WITH THE JOINT COMMITTEE TO PRESENT BUDGETARY REQUESTS
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) begins the process of developing a state budget and on September 24 heard from heads of state agencies on how much money they need for the fiscal year 2023, which begins July 1.
The committee also received estimates of future tax revenues that will help them plan the budget. The JLBC document acts as a roadmap for lawmakers in May drafting the separate appropriation bills that make up the state budget.
Here are three of the biggest agencies in terms of general fund spending:
The annual funding formula for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) of the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) is $ 2.705 billion. These funds provide the bulk of the funding for the state’s school districts. Last year, lawmakers passed a bill that held districts harmless for average daily attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This meant they could use the 2020 figures to calculate the APRM.
The MDE said it would recalculate the formula with the updated attendance figures in December.
Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann told MDE officials that lawmakers wanted an accurate tally for the purpose of calculating the APRM more accurately.
Since a 2017 state Supreme Court ruling, lawmakers can and often do ignore the recommendation, with the credit running into the hundreds of millions of dollars below the APRM.
The APRM formula consists of the average of the student’s basic cost per day, plus the at-risk component minus the local contribution plus an eight percent guarantee. Then, it is only after the complementary programs – transport, special education, education of the gifted, vocational education and alternative – are added to the allocation formula that the final request for APRM funding is calculated.
The ministry also wants an additional general fund of $ 100 million to cover underfunding for fiscal year 2022 and $ 58 million to cover an increase in complementary APRM programs.
For the third year in a row, the MDE also wants more money to modernize the Mississippi Student Information System. A portion of the $ 88 million in federal funds related to COVID-19 for which the ministry has requested emergency spending authority from the Information Technology Services Board will also be spent on this project.
The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) wants a 10.21% increase from $ 372 million for fiscal 2022 to more than $ 410 million. Much of that, $ 51 million for salaries, wages and benefits, would go to hiring new correctional officers to fill vacancies and bring the ministry up to federal standards.
Corrections Commissioner Nathan “Burl” Cain told the committee that his agency hired 495 correctional officers this year, but lost 223, which ended up being a net gain of 311.
“We have a long way to go to prevent the (federal) consent decree from coming,” Cain said. “We are asking you for other positions that our consultants have told us we need to have. ”
He also said House Bill 2795, which came into force on July 1, has already led to the parole of 400 inmates and that a pro-rata over the remainder of the year would reduce the state’s prison population. 2,400. The MDOC has had a September average of 17,537 detainees in custody to date.
The Medicaid department is seeking $ 899 million from the state’s general fund, which is the same as the previous budget year. The good news is that Medicaid will not be claiming deficit credits for fiscal 2022, the fourth year in a row without a deficit.
Medicaid Director Drew Snyder told JLBC that Medicaid / Children’s Medicare (CHIP) program enrollments have increased 15.4% since March 2020.
In Mississippi, the way the budget process works is for state agencies to submit budget requests by August 1.
The JLBC meets every September to hear agency heads make their arguments for their budget requests and also to receive estimates of state tax revenues.
The JLBC meets in November to set a budget and then publishes the budget plan in December.
The governor also submits a budget proposal.