Senate to weigh bill that uses excess funds to pay state’s debt bill
Jackson – Mississippi’s bonded indebtedness has reached $3.7 billion, and Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant wants to see the state’s debt reduced.
Right now, the state’s fourth largest expense is paying its debts.
Bryant said it is important for Mississippi to be prudent in creating additional debt while paying down our current financial obligations. “We have a clear responsibility to continue to pay down our debt, and unlike Washington, we can not just print money.”
State bonded projects have included infrastructure needs such as repairs and renovations on our universities and colleges campuses and the building of roads and bridges throughout Mississippi.
A recent report issued by the Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review found $47.7 million in bond proceeds that could be available for redistribution.
Bryant said he wants those funds to be redistributed to pay the state’s bonded debt. “Last week I met with officials from the Mississippi Development Authority and while they believe the amount of unused bond proceeds to be less, any amount identified should be used to pay down debt service,” said Bryant. “We must reduce the level of bonded indebtedness in Mississippi, and this reallocation of roughly $47 million for FY 2012 would be an appropriate use of funds to help pay down our state’s debt.”
According to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the state is scheduled to pay $423,095,566 in fiscal 2011, which includes $274,830,000 in principal and $148,265,566 in interest. The state’s indebtedness as of Jan. 1 is $3,786,480,000.
Bryant has requested Senate Finance Chairman Dean Kirby, R-Pearl, to author the legislation required to sanction the redistribution of funds.