Thursday, February 16, 2017

Treasurer: State running up the credit card

Mississippi Treasurer Lynn Fitch issued the following press release. 

Treasurer Lynn Fitch’s Economic Briefing to the Legislature

Jackson, MSToday, the State Economist’s office and the Office of the State Treasurer provided the annual economic briefing for members of the State Legislature.  Amongst the highlights from the Treasurer’s report, presented by Deputy Treasurer Jesse Graham:

State Debt:
·         State bond indebtedness continues a steady climb, reaching almost $4.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2016.
·         From Fiscal Year 2006 to Fiscal Year 2016, bond indebtedness grew $1.3 billion (41.8%).
·         Debt service is the third largest item in the State budget.
·         Legislature did not fully fund debt service for Fiscal Year 2017 - $7.6 million in deficit appropriations needed before April 1, 2017.
·         Legislative Budget Recommendation for Fiscal Year 2018 makes the same mistake – relies too heavily on special funds for debt service.
·         Legislature’s heavy reliance on special funds has bled those funds dry.  Don’t even have enough to cover short-term borrowing needs, which means taxpayers will pay more.
·         Mississippi is behind the national average and behind its peer states in our debt ratios.
o   Net Tax Supported Debt Per Capita: $1,707
o   Debt as Percent of Personal Income: 5.0%
o   Debt as a Percent of State GDP:  4.88%
o   Debt Service Ratio: 6.0%
·         New rules passed by the State Bond Commission are meant to help manage debt levels
MPACT Shortfall:
·         The Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition (MPACT) Legacy program has a $126.4 million shortfall.
·         College Savings Board has requested emergency infusions from the Legislature the past three years – all have been ignored.
·         MPACT Legacy Program will be insolvent in 2025 under current assumptions.
·         MPACT bears the full faith and credit of the State.
·         An opportunity to help shrink the shortfall by updating the 20-year-old investment statutes was left to die in committee by the Legislature.
Breaking the Cycle of Poverty:
·         Mississippi has the highest poverty rate in the nation (22.6%).
·         246,000 Mississippi children live in poverty (34%).
·         Mississippi ranks at or near bottom of all studies on financial habits.
·         In states that have made financial education a high school graduation requirement, credit scores for recent graduates increased.
·         An opportunity to make financial education a ½ credit course required for graduation was left to die in committee by the Legislature.
·         23% of Mississippi women live in poverty.
·         Over 75% of Mississippi children living in poverty live in a household headed by a single mom.
·         Mississippi is one of only 2 states in the nation that does not protect equal pay for equal work.
·         Mississippi has a 27% pay gap, according to a December 2016 study by the State Economist’s office.
·         Today’s wage gap costs a woman $375,000 over a 40-year career.
·         Woman working 40-hour workweek earns $9,600 less than a man, on average.
·         An opportunity to close the pay gap was left to die in committee by the Legislature.


Anonymous said...

We have had Republican leadership in charge in the executive and legislative branches for over a decade in Mississippi. At what point are things supposed to get better? Cutting taxes on corporations is not creating jobs, and you can't blame the Obama economy because not every other state is in the constant decline we have been in. If it were the Obama economy as Tate Reeves likes to use as an excuse for his failed policies every state would be in the same condition Mississippi is in, but they are not.

Anonymous said...

It seems that Fitch left out the true story about MPACT - that she created 2 different accounts - one before she closed it down and another fund when they reopened. I would like to see the numbers if you were to combine them. I thought she was going to Washington anyway. What a hell of a mess she could stir up there!

Anonymous said...

She is right, our debt has spiraled out of control under Phil Bryant and Philip Gunn. these guys are no different from the far left Democrats in Washington. The only difference is that they "talk" conservative and have stupid bills that they use to fool the people. Gunn should be relieved of his duties and Phil should disappear after his term is ended. Both have been major mistakes for Mississippi. Remember, our bond rating was down graded on their waqtch a couple of years ago to "negative outlook".

Anonymous said...

You mean I am a part owner of all of the state roads plus that massive conglomeration of state office buildings in Jackson plus all of the museums and all of the other brick and mortar owned by the state and my share of the debt is only $1,700?

Anonymous said...

Tate Reeves pretty much called Fitch dumb and should keep her mouth shut when she presented similar information last spring. Looking forward to his comments on today's presentation.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget about bank teller Tater Tott!

Anonymous said...

How does she claim to be a Republican and keep beating this drum about equal pay for women? The Republican point of view is 'The work place is equal - if you son't like your job go find another and if the employer doesn't like a worker, fire them and go find another.' This is not something that needs more government.
And the basic premise is fake news - many reputable studies have shown that when you account for two things (1. Women missing work and losing experience and seniority to have and raise children) and (2. More men work in occupations that should pay more because they are dirty, dangerous, or require a degree of education that is difficult to obtain) after accounting for those things it has been shown that the pay is almost even. Within 3%. Furthermore, the basic premise makes no sense. Many, many businesses earn profits in the 3-5% ranges. If you are only making 3% and you can hire a woman who is equal in every respect and pay her 20% less why would you ever hire a man? If the premise were true your competition would load up with cheep women's labor, undercut the price, and force you out of business.

Anonymous said...

Not a Fitch fan, but damn she is right. MPACT is a tiger that is going to bite the state in the ass and the bond debt is (and has been) a ticking bomb. But, what do you expect when you elect a bunch of legislators who can't say no and cut up the credit card. Just wait. Tater Tot will show us ignorant people a plan to take care of it all. Relax folks, nothing to see here.

Anonymous said...

I thought cutting taxes was going to make all the poor people get high paying jobs?

Looks like it just made rich people....richer.

I tell you what...its a damn good thing those black people are least you are better than them right?

Anonymous said...

State Debt:

· State bond indebtedness continues a steady climb, reaching almost $4.4 billion in Fiscal Year 2016.

· From Fiscal Year 2006 to Fiscal Year 2016, bond indebtedness grew $1.3 billion (41.8%).

While passed through the Legislature and signed into law by Bryant (meaning all share blame), it has been the policy of Tate Reeves to "cut our taxes" while issuing bonds like crazy. Remember, nothing gets passed and signed into law in the MS Legislature without his blessing. He sets the Senate docket and affirmatively controls the purse strings.

He has kicked the can down the road so he can run as though he cut your taxes in two years. It is all about political optics for him...nothing more.

Anonymous said...

This is not exactly on point but points to waste in state government. Why does a man who lives on Hunter Court in the City of Madison take his marked car home ever night. The car is marked State Aid Roads car #1521. Is he expecting some emergency situation to develop some night while he sleeps, requiring his immediate attention?

I accessed that state agency today on the internet and sent an email request for explanation to the address stated on the website and my email was 'returned' as undeliverable.

Anonymous said...

When will they start to blame Trump? It's always someone else's fault..

Anonymous said...

Lynn Fitch misses on the facts almost as much as she misses work.

Anonymous said...

Look at what has happened to Louisiana. Jindal ran the state into the dirt and their budget crashed. Now: 10% sales tax and a massive increase in fees.

Look ahead, Mississippi. It's your destiny.

Anonymous said...

Legislators need to make Fitch account for all her missed work days.

Anonymous said...

2:02, You're more than welcome to my $1700 share since you see it as such a bargain. It's not like MDOT is squandering your money on turf wars and office construction. Gunn didn't keep DoR in Clinton to the tune of about 20 million. Feeel didn't flip a half a million dollar contract to the company his kid works for decorating. And as for all the roads that we're part owners in? Awful condition. And yes, the museums, because every dime spent there is money well spent. Sorry we can't give you reliable roads and bridges, or educate your kids, but we built these new multi million dollar museums to enrich our cronies and make sure there are a plenty of make work jobs for the otherwise unemployable scions of wealth and privilege. And for that I don't know if I'm madder at the waste of money or the unending tut tut I receive from them for not being sufficiently progressive.

Anonymous said...

2:35, the real question is do these people that take public cars to and from home to work pay income tax on this benefit? The State or local government is required by Federal to show the value of this on the tax payer's W-2. The organization I worked for placed this value at $3.00 a trip when I had a business car.I wonder how many governments show this a taxable income? The government could have that large tax burden if not.

Anonymous said...

UMMC "suddenly" discovered they have a $40 MILLION deficit they need to make up by June 30. Faculty just learned how much their salaries are being slashed to balance the books. No word on layoffs, etc for other job categories.

How can you NOT see a $40M debt accumulating?

Anonymous said...

MPACT is a tiger that is going to bite the state in the ass ...

You know NOT of what you comment. By the way, who established MPACT? Donkeycrats or Republicans?

Kingfish said...

What deficit? Email me.

Anonymous said...

4:13 missed the English class in which they covered cynicism. Or sarcasm? Modern internet. Get mad and shoot first. Repeat.

PittPanther said...

I'm sure glad this state is being run by the "party of fiscal responsibility."

Anonymous said...

Fitch is the worst. What is she running for? Sounds like LG.

Anonymous said...

Underneath the facade, Lynn Fitch is a career bureaucrat, and basically a closet social democrat bureaucrat at that.. That's all.

Anonymous said...

Above the facade, Lynn Fitch is giving us hard facts that indicate our R led gubment is much less than financially conservative. I don't give a damn what party she is affiliated with as long as she calls em like she sees em. No, she's not covering for Tate or Phillup and she has the same R next to her name as they do. If that makes her a closet D then I'm good with that. But with the exorbitant spending Tate and Phillup are doing maybe it's them that are closet D's.

Anonymous said...

But with the exorbitant spending Tate and Phillup are doing maybe it's them that are closet D's.

Exorbitant spending? Where?

Anonymous said...

It should also be noted that this is a treasurer who took pride in being the first state treasurer to devise a "debt affordability study" -- a worthless political excercise she bestowed that said "hey, in Miss-ippi, our debt load is a-okay right now. In fact, we could probably incur a right smart more debt just fine if y'all want." Smart ... Very smart. Too bad she's not going to Washington. :(

Anonymous said...

Reeves did NOTHING to fix Mpact for eight years despite the problems staring right into his cherubic triple-chin face.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Webb said 10% of the state's adult population are on disability. The credit rating folk always refer to the low education attainment and poverty rate when they give us a score and outlook. The unfortunate, cumulative effect of Republican taxation policy is a depleted treasury, demoralized state workers, PERS instability, and growing bond debt. The state leaders assume the universities are substitutes for the state. "Great universities" don't necessarily make the state great. Higher education is like the NYC picnic. The folk with college degrees leave the state, make a lot of money, fund the alumni foundations, and return for homecoming. The current leaders might have finally figured out that 'great k-12' makes the state great. If they were really farsighted the universities would be under a single chancellor, a single brand, and a single name with half a dozen campuses that fully utilize e-learning.

Anonymous said...

The UMMC faculty meeting blamed it on the disappearance of the federal money that used to subsidize hospitals that provided a lot of indigent care, to cover their losses. When Obamacare started it was announced that that money would be stopping, and would be replaced by Medicaid expansion. Since Mississippi never expanded Medicaid, and UMMC apparently never adjusted their budget to plan how to avoid a huge loss, they ran up a huge deficit. Miserably poor planning by UMMC administrators.

They also asked the faculty to donate money to UMMC to cover the deficit, after cutting their salaries for the rest of this fiscal year AND THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR.

Anonymous said...

"ASKED them to"?

Anonymous said...

Those defending the current MS executive and legislative branches and what should be obviously " voodoo economics " by now, seem to suffer convenient memory loss.
Cutting taxes ( revenues) without considering budgetary consequences ( expenses) isn't working. It was never going to work.
Eliminating regulations that allow corruption to increase and that made the once illegal business practices legal isn't working. Before you eliminate a policy, you should consider why it existed.
The State of Mississippi didn't go along with Obamacare, remember? The GOP presented lack of improve the health care system. Obamacare was modeled on GOP healthcare proposals Romney implemented in Mass aka The Dole Plan. The GOP is still struggling with a plan to " fix /replace ACA. Ever wonder why in all these years they haven't come up with a plan that's already developed and ready to implement?
When Obama took office we were in danger of a depression and the stock market was around 700. The economy, the stock market and every other economic measure improved considerably during the Obama administration including reducing the deficit. There are legitimate criticisms of Obama, but they aren't fiscal.
More recent studies of women in the workplace show that 2:18 pm is citing debunked studies and outdated notions of women in the workplace. Current research accounts for years on the job and productivity compared to men. Men don't hire women because they put value on " networking " man to man and refuse to see that parenting applies to men as well as women. 2:18 seems to believe that men never miss work due to family demands. In short, 2:18's flat earth observations about women in the workplace still prevail and men don't see women as a " bargain" like he claims they would.
There is no such thing as " alternative facts". A fact is either verifiable and arrived at based on sound methodology or it isn't. There is such a thing a political propaganda and a failure to consider both sides of an argument.
It's long passed time to give a rat's ass for any political party and to start seeking the truth however inconvenient it might be.

Anonymous said...

The dog is getting walked.

Anonymous said...

O.k. lets cut the bullsh*t.

I don't give a rats a** if Fitch was a member of the KKK, NAACP, Rocky Top Log Cabin Republican Movement, Silver Foxes, Closet Democrats of Mississippi!!!!

The woman is right. She called it last year at the end of the legislative session. You can't pass tax cuts and then green light a bunch of bonds, without a means of covering those cost.

Basically, the Republican lead government in Mississippi - figured they could eliminate their cash flow and still use their credit cards to keep the lights on and the water running. Without considering how they were going to pay those credit cards off? That's a simple way of putting it, without using all that extra fancy language that confuses their trailer park contingency.

We better hope and pray there are some formidable opponents to against Tate Reeves, he does not need to pick up where Bryant left off.

This is a big a** mess.

Anonymous said...

@3:59 Unfortunately you are misleading in your facts. You are right that this does have a lot to do with federal reimbursement for uncompensated care, but what you are wrong about is that UMMC or IHL (since they full control over what happens with the medical center) had no way of "planning" for this. The Division of Medicaid sent a letter to all hospitals stating that a change in their reimbursement methodology this year would result in changes in reimbursement. UMMCs change resulted in a $40M cut. The letter is public, so feel free to locate that letter. A hospital cannot adjust to a methodology that is not stable and changes from year to year.

And you are also misinformed when you state that the IHL is asking for employees to donate to cover the budget cut. Where in any world does this exist? You are trying to stir a pot that has no soup in it sir.

redcreek said...

Whoo hoo! Glad to see some cojones in MS (Anonymous, of course). Keep on giving big tax breaks to spurious businesses who leave after the tax breaks are over. It's worked out great! Oh, and keep overtaxing the poor (for groceries, a GLOBAL embarrassment) and etc. That will make this state so great that Philbilly will become the next Vice President to Dump. And the festering wounds of the beggars on the streets will look just like Twain's stories of India in the 1870s.

And, thank God, somebody who can add and subtract is Treasurer.

Kingfish Cousin Catfish said...

Hey Cousin KF - hope you don't mind me droppin' some knowledge on the Trailer Park Conservative contingency that elected Ol' Feel, Triple Cheese Tater, and Gunner

Take notes - these so called tax cuts for businesses passed in FY2012-FY2016, will not result in more jobs, because companies only hire when DEMAND for their products/services is increasing. If the demand is low, those companies will simply pocket the tax savings (like many of them are doing now, hoard money). Hell, they should have cut taxes for consumers, i.e. groceries, electronics, cars, property taxes - that will increase demand on goods, and then companies will need to hire workers to meet the demand. It's really simple economics, but these Trailer conservatives are not good at.

Anonymous said...

9:21. 3:59 here. Feel free to stop lying about a meeting you did not attend and that my spouse, a long-term UMMC faculty member, did attend. I never mentioned IHL so don't put words in my mouth. UMMC admins suggested faculty make donations to help with the shortfall. And anyone can plan a conservative budget when they are informed years in advance a major cutback is coming.

Can't type more right now - we are out of state meeting with faculty at another university interested in our services.

Anonymous said...

Cut taxes, increase spending-- the W. formula for crashing an economy.

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