For the sixth time since he took office in 2012, Gov. Phil Bryant will deliver his annual State of the State address Tuesday night.
Capitol staff and runners were busy staging the House chamber for the speech, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. during a rare joint legislative session. House members, Senate members and Supreme Court justices will be present. The speech will be broadcast live on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and streamed on the Legislature’s website.
The speech is expected to feature some of Bryant’s recent talking points: improving the state’s public education through various reform efforts including a reform of the funding formula, working with President-elect Donald Trump’s administration to improve infrastructure in the state, touting recent successes in attracting corporations to the state, and focusing on job growth and a decrease in overall unemployment.
Bryant serves as national chairman for National Education Commission of the States, the group that designated Mississippi as the most innovative state for public education in 2016. Bryant, who has long focused his office’s policy on education, is expected to tout recent achievements in the state, including improving passing rates for the third grade reading test and charter school development.
In November, the governor released his $5.7 billion budget recommendation for next fiscal year. Bryant stated that he wants to spend more money on a new public education formula but less money on nearly every other facet of state government.
Under Bryant’s budget proposal, most state agencies would receive 1.8 percent less than this fiscal year. The governor said he wants to pursue privatization in government, including the consolidation of some agencies or departments (though he did not mention specific agencies).
The budget proposal feeds into his long-standing effort to decrease spending and the influence of government on the lives of average Mississippians.
“Ultimately, a budget reflects priorities, and this budget represents how I believe government can use taxpayer resources to help move Mississippi forward,” Bryant said in the report.