Buckle Up. The First Draft of Next Year’s Budget is In

The Clarion-Ledger has reported that the first draft of next year’s budget is in. Republican leaders are “unapologetic” about the fact that it comes in at $76 million less than last year’s budget.

House Speaker Phil Gunn has reiterated that government must ever and always appreciate the need for efficiency in spending citizens’ money. I am certain that taxpayers want their money spent wisely. However, I am not certain that the state can continue to spend less, but to expect more from its agencies. This budget essentially kicks the can down the road when it comes to improving the state’s infrastructure. There’s a 4% cut for universities, and a whopping 39% cut to the Mississippi Development Authority. The budget also institutes a 3.9% cut to general education and administration, which is one source of funding for MSMS.

I respect the fact that most taxpayers don’t want to spend more on government. However, I wonder if we have reached a tipping point when it comes to balancing efficiency and legitimate expenditures. To wit: in a global economy, where we must compete with people from around the world for jobs and scholarships and development opportunities, when will our leaders see education, infrastructure, and development as investments rather than obligations? It would appear that we would rather starve on a penny than work for a pound.

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14 Responses to Buckle Up. The First Draft of Next Year’s Budget is In

  1. Kaelon McNeece says:

    The legislators’ choice to restrict funding for plans prioritizing education efficiency is going to only provide a short-term benefit. Mississippi has already been on a downward education trend with low national rankings across the board, ghastly dropout rates, and a general lack of motivation for education that I’ve seen around my previous school. The decision to cut education funding will alleviate some of the state government cost, but so much is lost if this plan were to follow through. The potential to make an impact on the world and provide legitimate national and international competition in the job market is further stifled with this choice. The focus on immediate financial gain for the state has good-intentions, but the lack of focus on our state’s future shows the perspective of our legislators that can’t extend more than a year or two into our state’s future.

  2. Caitlin Jordan says:

    I think the legislators do not realize that by cutting the budget for education institutions it, in turn, reduces the number of people admitted to these institutions. By reducing the number of people admitted, the number of educated citizens drops as well as the number of people in jobs. With fewer people working, it means, more likely than not, the unemployed do not pay taxes which reduces the amount of money the government gets.

  3. Theresa Ho says:

    I agree with Caitlin, the number of people joining these institutions depend on how much funding the government decides to spend on it. I think that the government should be spending more of the taxes on education because the result in a good education will benefit the future leaders. If the government is spending little on education, then the students will not receive and live up to their full potential. With the opportunities given at an earlier age, it will effect the future of our government.

  4. Tija J. says:

    I think that legislators have it all wrong. They don’t know what damage they are doing and what message they are sending to our young people. Politicians and adults period always claim that the growing generation is the one that’s supposed to change everything. We aren’t able to make improvements to society if we aren’t allowed the finances needed to make a change. Mississippi’s education systems ranks amongst the lowest in the country for education according to the education rankings powered by McKinsey and Company. (Not saying take away money from other schools but..) Legislators should pour money into schools like MSMS because of the opportunities and experience they provide for the upcoming generation. (Other politicians just feel like we should cut schools like ours all together without having any type of hands on knowledge about what we do here.) I understand that taxpayers want their hard earned money but legislators are cutting money and putting it into the wrong places.

  5. Sawyer Neal says:

    I think that our state legislature is looking too much at the current state of Mississippi, instead of looking toward the future. Taxpayers want their money, but at some point, Mississippians are going to have to realize that our state is severely falling behind. Schools and universities give us experience and leadership skills moving into the workforce, and for a small few of us, the government. Our government needs to know how to handle issues that we might have, along with what is and is not the best thing to put taxpayers’ money into. This has been apparent for a while now in Mississippi, and we can clearly see it by the way the legislature treats the education system.

  6. Jacob Lee says:

    First of all, the cut from the education budget is horrendous. The degradation of the US’s interior is only accelerated by this and that is unacceptable. The way we’re going about this is all wrong; more money should be allocated to the education fund and other developmental agendas. While this would take longer to yield results, it would prompt a solution that can bring us out of the hole we’re digging ourselves. By bettering the younger generations and providing them with more tools to succeed the problems we face now could actually be solved.

  7. Alex Jones says:

    I believe that Mississippians need to wake up and realize that to better themselves they have to first better the quality of life in places such as education for children. One way to do this is by giving more funding to public schools and the way we do that is by raising taxes and INCREASING the state’s budget for public necessities such as education and general services such as road-work and the police force. Through this, I believe that the quality of life can improve for everyone if we just pitch in a little more and kick out the corrupt individuals that may or may not be stealing the taxes from under our noses. Thank you.

  8. Indu Nandula says:

    Cutting funding for education is a terrible thing to do. In fact, this goes to show just how scarce common sense is in this state, let alone in this country. Less funding for education means less people will be prepared for life after schooling. More unemployment, more people not being able to provide for their children, and for themselves. The future of this state, nay the world, rest on the shoulders of proceeding generations. Additionally, cutting funding for education entails lesser numbers of student attendance, which results in loss of money for the government. Do they realize that? It would take an educated individual to figure that out.

  9. Kendra Bradley says:

    It has already begun to read a point, in my opinion. Most schools do not have to teach personal finance, human anatomy, or more than basic algebra. State tests require rudimentary at best knowledge of History, Algebra, English, and Biology. In those tests, you do not need to know any kind of personal finance, how to find the area of a triangle, effective communication of ideas, or even what body temperature is considered a medical emergency. All that’s required is a vague idea of the previous wars, knowing how to solve 2-step equations, basic grammar, and that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. At this point, the majority of the population doesn’t even know that the female anatomy consists of more than the anus and the vagina. The problem is that the people in charge do not care. As long as the poor/dumb stay poor/dumb, they continue to get their paycheck. They get to keep their private jets and golf courses; we never find out because we don’t know to question their almighty opinion. The only reason free public education is still a thing is because to completely eradicate it would actually turn the heads of the oblivious (hypothetically).

  10. Loveish Sarolia says:

    The decision to lower the budget dividends to schools is not a surprise considering the people that vote on these bills are the same people who decided to attend schools where money was easy come easy go. The legislators that spoke to the Clarion Ledger are not only “unapologetic” but they also promise to continue the budget cuts. The budget cuts in some areas were acceptable such as the over 1000 vacant government positions that have remained empty for six months or more. On the other hand, the cuts to education affect not only students, but also teachers as the cut decreases their pays as well. The teachers are the ones who encourage kids to become important figures so why are the former students trying to hurt the teachers. The budget cuts are only proposed as of now but if they pass then the legislature needs a serious schooling of how the cuts affect future leaders.

  11. Efingie says:

    The plan calls spending 6 billion dollars less than the current year. According to the Clarion Ledger, this year “a 415 million dollar tax cut – the largest in state history – begins a 10-year phase in.” The Clarion Ledger article continues by listing some major changes of the legislative budget recommendation. First, the 2 percent set-aside rule would be reinstated, which states that 2 percent of the estimated general fund revenue would be held back as a “cushion,” which would mean that 112 million dollars would have to be held back. The K-12/MIssissippi Adequate Education Program, Education general and admin, Medicaid, universities, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Corrections, Community Colleges, Mental Health, and the Health Department all face potential cuts from 0.1 percent to 4 percent.

    What I find most astonishing is that the areas that face the highest percentages of cuts in funding are areas of education. If legislators truly wanted to see an improvement in education, then this decision was most definitely not a wise one. The issue that I have seen at my home school is that the student body is just not concerned about their schoolwork. Many students simply do not care about their education, but I feel like a way to remedy this would be by motivating students at a younger age. Back when I used to live in Washington state, my school sponsored a program where elementary school students could stay after school to delve deeper in concepts learned during the day, and students who stayed were awarded and congratulated. Essentially, after this program was initiated, test scores and student motivation improved drastically.

    This concept can also be applied to schools in Mississippi because student motivation is essential to improved student performance. And if Mississippi students realize that their political leaders also do not care much about their education, the vicious cycle continues.

  12. Helen Peng says:

    Although I respect the fact that legislators and taxpayers may not see the point in paying more than they need to for taxes, its still important to remember that we are living in an ever-changing society, and if the budget is cut just for the sake of the conservation of money, that takes away from the development of our community as a whole. Like many of my peers, I believe that the budget cut on education was a poorly-informed decision. Our society’s future depends so much on the education of the younger generation- taking money out of education is the equivalent of discouraging the younger generation’s potential to lead and thrive in a better tomorrow. Legislative decisions cannot be made on something as superficial and narrow-minded as saving money. Likewise, voters and taxpayers must realize that money put in the government will contribute to the greater good of the present state and the people that will be leading the future state. As it is, Mississippi’s public education system is consistantly ranked one of the worse in the country, and we are also one of the most over-looked states. This will not change with the the lack of money going towards infrastructure and development. Outside of the budget cuts towards education and development, it can also be argued that governments are not sponsoring research institutions and universities. While these fields are crucial for innovations that could lead to a better future, the more important aspect of this is the legislator’s seemingly absent appreciation for a hunger for better opportunities and the improvement of the ‘greater good.’ While practicality is crucial to politics and handling the money of taxpayers, thinking ahead of our current society and toward the goal of a better and more developed state will prove to be beneficial.

  13. MaryRuth Pridmore says:

    I think we should increase taxes. I know that it wouldn’t settle well with residents of Mississippi, but with tax raises the state could spend more money on education. In my opinion, the optimal place to do this in sales tax. Everyone spends hundreds to thousands of dollars a year. A small increase of 3 cents would end up being a large gain for the state. Because of the tax raise, the money could be allotted to education, infrastructure and more jobs. If more people have jobs, they will spend more money.

  14. Sophia Garcia says:

    Fund reductions are terrible. Especially in cases where the areas that are being targeted for cuts are education departments. MSMS and places like it provide an excellent foundation for the youth of Mississippi. If the state raises its taxes, those few cents a day would add up to millions in the future.

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