For the first time in three fiscal years, lawmakers received projections of an increase in expected revenue just hours before finalizing the upcoming fiscal year budget.
The state economist on Friday raised revenue projections for Fiscal Year 2019 by about $55 million. That gave lawmakers an unexpected cushion as they work this weekend behind closed doors in conference committees to finalize next year’s budget.
Revenue collections have been higher than projected this year, a factor that helped inspire the slight uptick in expected collections for next fiscal year. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said he expected revenues to come in even higher than the projections provided on Friday.
“This estimate is exceptionally conservative,” said Reeves. “And that’s a good thing.”
The adjusted revenue projection, however, reflects just 0.9 percent of the total budget for next fiscal year. Legislative leaders including Reeves warned that the change would likely not mean much difference for individual state agencies’ budgets.
This time last year, lawmakers learned that there would be no last-minute changes to the revenue estimate. Two years ago, lawmakers learned that revenues were so behind pace that a new mid-year budget cut was needed.
Through February, the state collected $34.4 million more in revenue than projected. Sales tax and use tax collections helped add to the greater-than-projected collections.
The current budget year also saw an increase of $32 million, which comes from court settlements obtained by the Attorney General’s office. Some of that money will be used on deficit appropriations, including on the Division of Medicaid and Child Protective Services (CPS).
“I anticipate significant additional resources for CPS for both the current fiscal year and next fiscal year,” Reeves said.