JACKSON, Miss. (WLOX) - Gov. Tate Reeves released his Executive Budget Recommendation for the fiscal year 2021 for the state of Mississippi.
Reeves focused heavily on improving funding for teachers in his budget recommendations, including a teacher pay raise and doubling the teacher supply fund.
“Last year, I promised that my goal as governor was to increase teacher pay by at least $4,000-beginning with a $1,500 pay raise in our first year. This budget mirrors that goal. As we continue to work with the legislature, my priority is simple: we should pay our teachers as much as we can possibly afford," Reeves wrote in the proposal.
“Teachers should never be forced to pay for their own supplies. This should help us to address that issue,” he added.
He also recommended a bonus for teachers who relocate to underserved areas of the state.
“No child should be abandoned. I am proposing a one-time bonus of $10,000 for new teachers to serve in a geographic location or subject area that has been determined to have a critical shortage by the Mississippi Department of Education," Reeves said. “This program can be supported by the general funds requested in this budget and would be funded for the next four fiscal years.”
Similarly, Reeves proposed doubling the Mississippi Rural Physician Scholarship program for doctors who work in underserved areas of the state.
“We must incentivize doctors to locate in underserved areas. That can reduce the cost of care for patients and help transform our rural health care system.”
The governor also made a point to recommend increased investment in workforce development in the form of “$100 million in one-time funds to power a transformation of Mississippi’s workforce.” He wrote the funds would be used in ways such as encouraging high school graduates to earn industry credentials and create bachelor’s degree programs in high-growth industries that are more affordable for students.
Reeves did not specifically outline any increases to the budget for the Department of Corrections but did write that he has requested the Department of Finance and Administration conduct a financial analysis of the corrections department.
“This will help us to more accurately determine where taxpayers’ money is currently being spent (or misspent). We do not want to blindly request an increase to achieve a vague ambition. At this point in the process, we have requested level funding for the department.”
You can read the full executive budget recommendation, click HERE.