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MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi

State Recovery Act Website: http://stimulus.ms.gov/

Mississippi's state Recovery Act website scored 17 out of 100 possible points (ranking 45th) on Good Jobs First's updated 51-state study of state stimulus websites entitled Show Us the Stimulus (Again). The state earned points for breaking down stimulus allocations into narrow categories, and providing project descriptions, dollar amount, and name of recipient entity.

For detailed scoring information, see the Mississippi appendix of Show Us the Stimulus (Again).

Coordination & Oversight

Gov. Barbour has not officially designated a "czar" or oversight committee, but the Governor's Director of Federal Policy, Marie Thomas Sanderson, will be working with support from "a loaned executive from a statewide business development association" to coordinate state agencies in their spending of stimulus funds. Officials from the Governor's office said that the state did not establish a new office to provide statewide oversight of Recovery Act funding, in part because they did not believe that the act provided states with funds for administrative expenses, including additional staff.

Policy Debates

The biggest controversy surrounding ARRA funds in Mississippi stems from Republican Gov. Barbour's objection to the entire Recovery Act. His objections were primarily against the unemployment insurance modernization requirements of the Act, but he was also arguing for a tax cuts-based stimulus package. The state Democratic-controlled House voted in March to bypass the governor and apply for all stimulus funds available to the state.   State Senate Democrats also introduced a similar resolution but it did not make it through the Republican-controlled Senate Rules Committee.  The state remains ineligible to receive stimulus funds for unemployment because the state has not modernized its state unemployment insurance policy. The state could receive $56.1 million to support the growing number of unemployed Mississippians. The deadline for accepting these funds is in 2011.

Press coverage of the state and its use of stimulus funds has primarily consisted of articles describing how state agencies, legislators, and bureaucrats are confused by how they can spend the funds. One senator was quoted as saying that the Act is written in "hieroglyphics." The main fight over the money appears is an ongoing ideological battle over the merits of funding social services versus funding tax cuts (despite the fact that the uses of the funds are largely already decided at the federal level).

With the help of federal stimulus funds, Mississippi was able to increase spending on education and health to record high levels. Overall the state budget includes $523 million in stimulus funds.

There does not appear to be much grassroots advocacy occurring around use of stimulus money, though in December, ACORN held a rally in Mississippi to pressure Gov. Barbour to implement a state stimulus plan that would address UI, food stamps, job creation funding, and the state housing voucher program.

Last updated on: 27 January, 2010

Quick Facts

Population:
2,938,618

Median Household Income:
$36,338

Unemployment Rate:
9.5%

Poverty Rate:
20.6%

Estimated Recovery Act Funding:
$2.4 billion

Resources

The Mississippi Economic Policy Center (MEPC) has a webpage of economic recovery resources that includes various links and fact sheets:

Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act Fact Sheet; online here.

The Unemployment Insurance Modernization Act: Opportunities for Mississippi, March 7, 2009; online here.

Allocations for Mississippi through the American Reinvestment Recovery Act, March 5, 2009; online here.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - Provisions for Mississippi; online here.

Estimates of Economic Effect by Type of Stimulus; online here.

Federal Economic Recovery Proposed to Aid States in Two Key Budget Areas; online here.

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