- Associated Press - Monday, January 12, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Democratic leader in the Mississippi Senate said Monday that he hopes majority Republicans will adopt some of his party’s budget ideas.

Sen. Hob Bryan of Amory said Democrats want to give a $1,000 across-the-board pay raise to state employees, which would cost about $16 million in a budget that’s expected to be about $6.2 billion. GOP leaders have said it’s too early to say whether lawmakers will consider a broad-based pay raise for state workers this election year, although teachers have been promised the second installment of a two-year raise.

Democrats are also proposing a three-year plan to attain full funding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, Bryan said during a forum sponsored by the Stennis Institute of Government and the Capitol press corps. MAEP is a budget formula that is designed to give school districts enough money to meet midlevel academic standards. It has been in the law since 1997 but has been fully funded only twice.

Republicans this term control the state House and Senate, and the budget process. Lawmakers have a deadline in late March to finish writing a budget for the year that begins July 1.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has said he doesn’t think MAEP would help the state attain its education goals, even if it were fully funded.

Bryan, who helped write MAEP and push it into law, said the formula is designed to give a financial boost to poor school districts without robbing the relatively wealthy ones.

Bryan said full funding of the formula would not guarantee academic success at all levels. But, he said, “The absence of money will just about guarantee failure.”

____

Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide