Coast lawmakers expect fireworks during special session

Coast lawmakers expect fireworks during special session

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Governor Phil Bryant has called lawmakers to Jackson for a special session on Tuesday. The only item on the agenda would allow the governor to tap into the state's rainy day fund to deal with a budget crisis. Mississippi faces a shortfall of about $75 million going into the upcoming budget year, starting July first.

"It's extremely critical. We have a budget shortfall and it's something we have to address," said Republican State Senator Sean Tindell of Gulfport. "We've put it off as long as we can, hoping projections and what's coming in would change. As it is now, there's a shortfall and we have to deal with it."

Tax collections have fallen woefully short of projections. The republican leadership in the House and Senate are expecting a quick and easy process. The Democratic minority is likely to raise questions in the wake of tax breaks passed by the GOP majority.

"They should have seen this coming. When they cut taxes, $350 million in corporate taxes, over the last three or four years, they should have known this was inevitable," said Democratic Representative David Baria from Bay St.Louis.

Representative Baria believes his democratic colleagues are going to stand up Tuesday because they think this year's budget situation is just the tip of the iceberg.

"If they think we're just going to go up there and say 'aye' and come home, they're wrong. We need information not only for this year's budget, but for next year, which is going to be worse," Baria said.

Senator Sean Tindell fully expects a partisan battle to break out during the special session.

"I'm sure some of those on the other side are going to take the opportunity to [stand] against tax cuts and things of that nature. Unfortunately, the economy has not done as well as expected. There are signs that it is bouncing back, but that's not going to stop them from having a dog and pony show," said Tindell.

The special session begins Tuesday at 10am.

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