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Rep. Dana Criswell - From Your Capitol, Week of February 12, 2018
This week marks the half way point for the 2018 Legislative session, and the beginning of the appropriations process.
Each state agency has its own bill which is considered by the Appropriations Committee. These spending bills can generally be divided into two types:
Special Funds: These bills pull money from special accounts that are set aside for particular state agencies. Most of the larger agencies are not funded this way. Many of the “special fund” agencies include occupational licensing boards and commissions which impose regulations on certain professions.
General Funds: These bills spend money from the state’s “general fund,” where most of your tax dollars are deposited. Most of the state’s larger agencies, including the three primary branches of government, are funded this way.
The House will continue working with the Senate to negotiate the final spending numbers for each of these bills based on updated tax collections at the end of the session.
This year the House Appropriations Committee's FY2019 Budget consist of;
House Funding Sources;
General Funds Available - $5,600,000,000
Education Enhancement Funds - $383,760,157
Health Care Expendable Funds - $110,515,502
Tobacco Control Funds - $20,000,000
Working Cash Stabilization Reserve Fund - $5,000,000
Total State Support Funds (State Budget) - $6,119,275,659
This year, like every year, I have and will continue to vote against all bond bills. Bonds are simply the way government borrows money. I understand that everyone (nearly everyone) borrows money occasionally but it is time we stop borrowing for things we don't need.
The State of Mississippi is $3.9 Billion in debt. That's right billions with a "B". We pay off approximately $312 million each year but we continue to add to our debt. Last year I am happy to say that Lt. Gov. Reeves killed the bond bill so the state got a reprieve from the constant increase in debt. But beware, the legislature is trying its best to make up for the lack of debt last year by increasing its borrowing this year.
It is time we get serious about spending our money properly. If we would stop wasting our money on museums, walking trails, and parks we would have the money we need for mental health, education and roads, without raising taxes. Actually if we would stop wasting money we could do all of that and cut taxes.
This week I started a Daily Journal of my life as a state legislator. It should be called an Occasional Daily Journal because I only wrote one day this past week. But check my website occasionally for new entries and get a glimpse into what I do each day at the capitol. Click Here to read my entry from last week.
Please feel free to contact me at Dana@DanaCriswell.net or on my cell phone at (901)275-4191.