The Joint Legislative Budget CommitteeThe Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) is composed of 14 legislators, half from the Senate and half from the House of Representatives. The Committee is chaired by either the Lieutenant Governor or by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the chairmanship alternates between them on an annual basis. In the Senate, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, the President Pro Tempore and the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee are standing members of the JLBC. The Lieutenant Governor names three additional members of the Senate to the Committee. In the House, the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee are standing members. The Speaker of the House appoints four additional members of the House to the Committee. The staff of the JLBC is called the Legislative Budget Office (LBO). released their budget recommendation for the FY 2015 budget yearThe twelve months of the Fiscal YearThe yearly accounting period for which budget decisions are made. The fiscal year for the state of Mississippi extends from July 1 of one year to June 30 of the next. A fiscal year is referred to by the calendar of the year in which it ends. For example, FY 2011 began on July 1, 2010 and ended on June 30, 2011. plus the lapseThe unexpected portion of any General Fund appropriation which is returned (or lapsed) back to the General Fund at the close of the fiscal year. period. Tuesday. Here are some key points from the budget. Watch for a more thorough analysis of the budget later this week.
- The budget totals $5.862 million in state support fundsThese funds include both State General Funds and State Special Funds., an increase of only $36.3 million over last year’s budget.
- The budget provides level funding for MAEP from FY 2014, however this amount underfunds MAEP’s estimated statutory requirements by $284 million.
- The budget also provides level funding for student financial aid and vocational education.
- It provides small increases to universities and community colleges
- The budget leaves $548 million unallocated for reserves.
- Budget reductions for some agencies are recommended with the elimination of funding for vacant positions, deferred equipment purchases, and reductions in contractual services and travel.
This recommendation provides a starting point for the budget debates during the legislative sessionThe Legislative Session convenes during the first week of January and closes around April 1st. Draft bills are divided between the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and further divided by subcommittee, usually by agencyAny department, officer, authority, public corporation, quasi-public corporation, commission, board, institution, state, university, and any other public agency created by the State, other than units of local government and school districts. (Source: MS Department of Finance and Administration) function. During the Legislative Session, the Legislature may decide to suspend the law requiring the 2% be set aside. Then both houses must adopt the conference reports on the appropriations bills (generally 5-6 days before the end of the session). If approved, the bills are sent to the Governor for his signature.. As our state revenues improve, a portion of the $548 in unallocated state funds should be used to restore funding for state services like education, which has been underfunded since 2008. These state services represent more than budget numbers on a spreadsheet, these services like K-12 education, higher education, public safety and health care mean improvements in our quality of life and economic productivity in Mississippi.
-Sara Miller, senior policy analyst