Simmons hears hopes of state agencies
by Courtney Stevens
Sep 25, 2013 | 976 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mississippi legislators are currently getting together requests made by agencies for the coming year’s state budget.

"The economy is growing better than that of the nation as a whole," said Sen. Willie Simmons, who is on the budget committee and the appropriations committee.

"The agencies came in with a large request this year," said Simmons, adding that it was close to $1 billion.

"We still have a lot of challenges such as with the department of corrections, some $20 million that we have to put in place.

"So we have a lot of needs and demands and we know that we won't be able to fund the agencies at the levels which they had requested," said Simmons.

He said that his main focus would be on the school systems and ensuring an adequate education program.

"Some of the things that we are going to be doing is placing priority on fully funding the MAEP program, the Mississippi of Adequate Education Program, to make sure that we have dollars in place for our supplies and books that some of our schools have not provided students in the past.

"Those kinds of things are going to be top on my list for recommendation and support," said Simmons.

Simmons also plans to look into finishing projects started last year.

"We also are going to be looking at, if it is possible, to get a few additional dollars to go into the Rosedale Park. We put some money in it last year," Simmons said.

“We'll be working to see if we can get that done.”

While Simmons and the rest of the budget committee do not yet know exactly what agencies will get what amounts, he does continue to have big ideas and hopes to see them through.

"All of these things are simply hopes and dreams that we are able to do because at this point we haven’t made it to where we actually prioritize and finalize a budget. "We are just at the hearing part of it on what the agencies wanted and needed so whatever we have discussed now in saying we would like to have is simply an individual member's dreams and hopes on the budget committee," said Simmons.