Treasurer Fitch Pushes for Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment
For years, Mississippians have been under the mistaken impression that our state has a balanced budget amendment in our Constitution. But, when I examined the Constitution provision by provision, I discovered it was a myth. The Attorney General confirmed that last summer. So I’ve made adding an amendment requiring the Legislature pass a balanced budget each year one of my top priorities in this legislative session. I’m pleased to say that Representative Mark Formby has introduced it in the House as HC 37.
The State has some good budgeting laws, but they are a patchwork of provisions that are too easily sidestepped or waived. For instance, Section 27-103-125 of the Mississippi Code requires the Legislature to only appropriate up to 98% of the estimated revenues for the fiscal year. This gives the State a 2% cushion, for example, if revenues fall short. The Legislature has waived that requirement five times since Fiscal Year 2010.
HC37 would require that the Governor propose a balanced budget and the Legislature pass a balanced budget. It would also prohibit the Legislature from carrying a deficit forward. And, it would prohibit the Legislature from authorizing more debt than shall be repaid in that same year. These are budgeting tools that many other states already have in their Constitutions, and it’s time for Mississippi to join them. I’m proud to work with Rep. Formby on this issue and hope the Legislature will support HC 37, too.
Fitch Bill for Financial Education Reintroduced in Both Chambers
For years, I have worked to get the Legislature to make financial education a graduation requirement for Mississippi high school students. The House has passed it repeatedly, but the Senate has not yet considered my bills.