Lawmaker Pushes For Raises For State Employees

"The state employees are overdue for a raise, that's the bottom line."

Rep. Erik Fleming says he's come up with a way to give the state's 31,000 employees a raise even during these tight financial times. Fleming says the state spends nearly $200 million each year paying off its debts. The representative says the state should spend that money instead on its agencies and employees.

"When you have $200 million sitting there that we use for debt service, instead of using that money as general funds money, that locks in the process even more and then we have to start talking about pulling funds from one place to another."

Mississippi earns about $75 million a year in special funds, like money from license fees. Fleming suggests the state should use those special funds to pay its debts.

Also, when determining yearly revenue growth, Fleming says experts should cap that growth at 3 percent, and that could cut back on over projecting.

"If you cap it at 3, the worst we could ever have is 3 percent growth, and any time you're over your percentage, then that's millions of dollars."

Fleming plans on passing out his budget ideas to other lawmakers.