Your Mississippi legislature is quickly approaching the end of the 2023 session. Over the past three months, we’ve witnessed just how dysfunctional government can be. We have seen politicians break promises and we witnessed firsthand the lack of principle and character that plagues our state government.
But the Mississippi Freedom Caucus has also witnessed the resilience and power of the hard-working conservative people of our state. You have raised your voice several times and demanded your representatives stick to the principles and values you elected them to uphold, and they have listened.
Next week I plan to outline for you the wins and losses of the 2023 session, but today we must focus on how the state budget is set for the next fiscal year.
Appropriation bills lay out how your money is spent by your government. These are the bills that determine the budget for the Department of Education, Department of Transportation, or any of the government agencies that live off your money.
Until this week, most appropriation bills were passed with “dummy” numbers. These are numbers that are simply placeholders, because the system that has been developed is a system designed to circumvent the constitutional deadlines that are meant to protect you from the politicians’ desire to hide how they are spending your money.
These “dummy” bills were passed by the House and the Senate and are now “in conference.” This means that the only elected officials who have any direct input into how much money each agency gets are Senate and House leadership.
These “leaders” must derive a final budget number. Most of this work is completed by real people, not politicians, who are hired to project how much money or revenue the state will have for the next year. Once they come up with that number, they look at last year’s budget and then equally distribute any increase or decrease among the various state agencies.
Now it’s time for the politicians to get involved.
At this point in the process, the leadership must make decisions. Will they stay with the numbers provided by the Legislative Budget Office, LBO, or will they increase or decrease those numbers? For the next fiscal year 2024, LBO has recommended that agencies receive an increase of approximately 3% based on their projections of how much money the state can take from you.
The House position, led by Speaker Philip Gunn, is that we should follow LBO’s recommendations and only increase spending by approximately 3%. This will produce a final budget of approximately $7.2 billion. While I would prefer we reduce the size of government and actually cut many of these agencies, this position is significantly better than that of the Senate.
The Senate’s position, led by Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, is that we should increase spending by almost half a billion dollars over the increases suggested by the Legislative Budget Office. This means Mississippi will be spending your money like a drunken sailor on shore leave and will put the nail in the coffin for any future elimination of the state income tax on working Mississippians.
Hosemann is doing nothing more than using your money in an attempt to buy votes for his next election.
It is time for you to speak up one more time.
We need to let Philip Gunn know that we support his position to limit the growth of the government and tell Lt. Gov. Hosemann that we do not appreciate his careless and reckless liberal spending.
The Mississippi Freedom Caucus is the only group of legislators who fight every day for your rights and freedom. But we need your help.
Step 1 – Go to FreedomCaucus.ms and join our team of Action Fighters
Step 2 – Make a Donation to the Mississippi Freedom Caucus so we can continue to fight.