4.5.23 – Magnolia Tribune
While the overall amount was less than FY2023, as it did not include over $1.5 billion in Coronavirus funds from the federal government received in previous years, this new state budget represents the largest state supported funding in Mississippi’s history. The total General Fund state support was set at $6.7 million.
HOSPITAL GRANTS, INCREASED EDUCATION FUNDING, AND DISASTER RELIEF ARE ALL PART OF THE FY2024 STATE BUDGET.
Shortly after midnight, in the early morning hours of April 1st, the Mississippi Legislature passed the state budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024.
The total state support listed in the budget was set at $7,615,334,262. While the overall amount was less than FY2023, as it did not include over $1.5 billion in Coronavirus funds from the federal government received in previous years, this new state budget represents the largest state supported funding in Mississippi’s history. The total General Fund state support was set at $6.7 million.
Before leaving for the year, lawmakers were able to appropriate $18.5 million in funding to the communities devastated by the tornadoes at the end of March. These monies will be split between the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and schools, hospitals and housing. It is expected that there will be federal match funds for these investments.
Public education saw a major increase going into the new fiscal year. The total for K-12 public education came in at $3.1 billion. The Senate’s initial push to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) with an additional $181 million did not hold, but an additional $120 million was appropriated to the Mississippi Department of Education. MAEP was funded at $2.4 billion which is still $160 million under full funding based on the formula.
Higher education saw a decrease from last year, with state funding set at $878 million and Community and Junior Colleges set to receive $330 million.
Hospitals in Mississippi have struggled financially, particularly in rural areas. Lawmakers agreed on a sizeable appropriation and creation of the Mississippi Hospital Sustainability Grant Program. The purpose of the fund is to strengthen and improve access to hospital care and healthcare services across the state. An allocation of $103 million was set aside and divided between 110 of the state’s hospitals. The amount of the funding per hospital is based upon certain criteria such as how beds are classified and if the hospital operates an emergency department.
The largest appropriations among the hospitals include Forrest General Hospital ($2.1 million), Mississippi Baptist Medical Center ($2.3 million), North Mississippi Medical Center ($2.3 million), Singing River Hospital ($2.2 million), St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital ($2.2 million), and University Hospitals Health System ($2.4 million).
Medicaid did see an increase in state funding, bringing the total to $909.7 million. A portion of the additional funding went toward extending postpartum care for pregnant women on Medicaid for up to 12 months. Full expansion of Medicaid was not addressed this session.
The Mississippi Department of Corrections also saw a budget increase of11.35%. Their total budget was set at $405,728,240. Private prisons in the state of Mississippi received $67.4 million in funding. Those facilities run by the state with the largest amount of funding include Central Mississippi Correctional receiving $36 million, Parchman with $40.9 million, and South Mississippi Correctional with $27.6 million.
The Legislature passed two bills, HB 1020 and SB 2343, that will increase the presence of the Capitol Police within the City of Jackson. While HB 1020 is focused on addressing issues within the Hinds County Court system, it also expands the Capitol Complex Improvement District (CCID) boundaries while SB 2343 allows jurisdiction for the Capitol Police throughout the entire city. With the increase in territory and responsibility, additional monies were appropriated to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), which houses the Capitol Police. Requests were made by DPS for additional funding to increase the number of officers currently on the force. Their FY2024 operating budget was set at $164 million.
“From a $600 million-plus infrastructure plan to legislation strengthening our elections process, providing options for the continued collaboration of hospitals, and increasing the number of doctors and nurses in Mississippi, the Session has been an overwhelming success. The State is in excellent fiscal condition, we are paying off debt, our personal and business taxes are decreasing, and we have adopted a conservative budget which funds necessary services,” said Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann of the 2023 session.
— Article credit to Sarah Ulmer of the Magnolia Tribune —