When the 2017 legislative session begins in January, there will be a new key player in the budget making process: former Hinds County supervisor and current Madison County administrator Tony Greer.
The move comes after Legislative Budget Office director Debbie Rubisoff notified Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn, who co-chair the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, of her retirement in early October.
A Mississippi Today reporter overheard legislative budget leaders congratulating Greer Wednesday at the Capitol.
The committee announced the appointment to the budget office staff on Wednesday afternoon. Gunn and Reeves announced the appointment in a statement, saying Greer will assume his new position on Nov. 21.
“I am truly honored to be working with Speaker Gunn and Lt. Gov. Reeves to keep implementing fiscally conservative policies that save Mississippians tax dollars,” Greer said in the statement.
Rubisoff, who served as director since February 2011, decided to retire after working in the LBO for 36 years. Her retirement will be official the last day of December, just five days before the 2017 legislative session begins.
“I’ll be 62 in January, and I’ve got more than enough time in retirement,” Rubisoff said Wednesday morning. “I’m ready to do something different, spend some time with my grandbabies. I notified the lieutenant governor and speaker of my decision on October 7. I didn’t want to leave without them having adequate time to find a new director.”
Gunn noted that Rubisoff “has been a long time public servant, and we thank her for sharing her extensive knowledge of the budget process. I look forward to working with Tony and continuing to streamline agency efficiencies and the budgeting process.”
Reeves said Greer “will bring a new perspective to state budgeting with his experience in both the public and private sectors.”
Greer is a former Clinton alderman and served as president of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors until 2014. He ran, unsuccessfully, for central district Public Service Commissioner in 2015. Since then, Greer has served as Madison County administrator. He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Mississippi College and was treasurer of Gunn’s reelection campaign.
The Legislative Budget Office is integral to the budget and appropriations process in Mississippi state government. The office hears budget requests from state agencies, compiles them, develops their own recommendations to bring to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, usually in November. That committee then decides whether to move forward with that budget request, using it as a model to craft appropriations bills for individual agencies and departments.
The Legislative Budget Office staff supports Senate and House committees for appropriations and finance, and tracks bonds, tax changes and revenue changes throughout the course of legislative sessions and fiscal years.
Additionally, the office prepares historical documents that track appropriations and spending and provides spending and budgeting information to legislators and the public.
After the 2016 session, Legislative Budget Office officials were forced to delay final budget bulletins by more than a month because of enacted legislation that muddied the final budget process. The delays caused numerous agency heads to publicly criticize lawmakers for passing a bill in the eleventh hour that swept special funds into the general fund.
Rubisoff said she will assist Greer with the transition.