Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Senate Bill 2362

Senate Bill 2362 is 330 pages of double-spaced, interlineated and underlined legi-speak, too voluminous to post here (however, here is a link).  It is titled: "Mississippi Budget Transparency and Simplification Act of 2016", and was authored by Senator Buck Clarke, a Republican from the Delta (and parts of Yazoo and Madison Counties). It would make dramatic changes to the PRVWSD, the way it's funded, and the way it spends.  Let me try to explain it this way:

Right now, the PRVWSD is (for the most part) a financially autonomous agency of the State of Mississippi. The PRVWSD states on its website that:
The District carries out its multi-purpose mission without any state or local tax dollars. 
The PRVWSD self-generates funds for its purpose through lease fees, timber sales, operation of campgrounds, hunting permits, etc. In the normal course of business, no funds are allocated to the PRVWSD from the general budget.  Senate Bill 2362 would change that.

If you take a look at page 225 of said Senate Bill, it succinctly provides that the language of Miss. Code Ann. 51-9-149, the funding statute for the PRVWSD, shall be changed to:
(5) From and after July 1, 2016, the expenses of this agency shall be defrayed by appropriation from the State General Fund and all user charges and fees authorized under this section shall be deposited into the State General Fund as authorized by law.
What this means is that all leasehold fees, user fees, timber sales, etc., shall be remitted by the PRVWSD to the general fund of the State of Mississippi.  In return, the PRVWSD must then annually request its operating money from the Mississippi Legislature like other state agencies. In a sense, the PRVWSD will be at the mercy of the legislature when determining what its budget will be, rather than the master of its own destiny.

I haven't thought this through yet. What are some of the effects this could have on the way the PRVWSD operates? Would it give the PRVWSD less incentive to develop property, or be less accountable to the leaseholders?

Said bill passed the Senate on a party-line vote on March 2, 2016, which included Senator Josh Harkins' supporting vote.  It now sits in the House Appropriation Committee for further discussion.


Anonymous said...

So the State of MISSISSIPPI would fund the PRV like it funds schools, roads, police, public health etc. If you think the PRV is bad, just imagine how horrible a job the legislature would be with another agency to fund. Why not just provide the PRV with a share of the tax money generated by the sales tax. Better yet why not allow populated areas of the reservoir community become a city.The residents would be able to elect a mayor and council and control their own destiny. Fat chance!

Anonymous said...

Old Buck sure has written a bunch of bills that are making waves in both houses, how did he have the time to write all these bills or who is giving them to him to file? Is this coming from Tater?

Anonymous said...

I don't like PRV, but I dislike state control even more.

Its time for cities to annex towards natural midpoints in the center of the Ross Barnett Reservoir.

Owen Taylor said...

So, now you know how the city of Jackson feels regarding the move to grab the airport.

Anonymous said...

First it was the airport. Now it is the PRVWSD. What are Mississippi conservatives up to? Don't they support limited government? Seems they want big government.Mississippi conservative leaders want to expand the long arm of big government. They ought to practice what they preach. Fat chance!

Anonymous said...

What is stopping annexation? I live in Ridgeland and we did! It won't stop my lease fee but Ridgeland provides city services other than water!

Anonymous said...

I would be against taking the fees from water use and depositing it into the general fund where it could be spent on other things away from the Reservoir. This is definitely flawed bill that will likely hurt those living in around the Reservoir to be able to fund things like improvements and expansions.

I don't see a problem with the Airport Bill because it just creates a new oversight Board for the management of the Airport to make it better. All of the revenue still goes to the City of Jackson, so they will not lose any of the revenue that they receive for today or the future.

As for Jackson itself, I really believe that their embattled Council needs to step away from the oversight of the water and sewer. I would be very interested to see if the Legislature ever would consider creating a separate Water and Sewer Board for the City's Water and Wastewater Facilities. Maybe then action on improvements to correct the many issues with both the water and sewer can finally be done and the City can stop being the butt of so many jokes regarding the handling of their systems.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an excellent way to screw up something that has been working for 50+ years. Establishment conservatives at work. And they wonder why "we the people" are backing Trump?

Anonymous said...

The bill is an amazing proposal with great consequences for thousands of lease holders. Amazing because there was no public notice or public hearings or public input. Action like this seem routine in Rankin County, but are exceptionally gross at the state level.

Owen Taylor said...

During the Albertson's controversy 20 odd years ago I kept asking the "Republican leadership" in this area why the reservoir area wasn't incorporated and why they weren't pushing for it. People kept saying taxes would go up. I think local county officials didn't want to give up power to a municipality, too.

So now there's at least a possibility that reservoir residents will have to lobby the legislature for necessary budget funds. How much higher taxes would have been is debatable, anyway, but at least this part of the county would have been able to stand on its own.

As it worked out, Flowood lapped up the prime real estate needed for a tax base when it incorporated areas along Lakeland Drive.

How ironic.

Speaking as a Democrat -- and one of the few people commenting on this site who never hides behind "Anonymous" -- I've got to admit I've enjoyed seeing the Republican Party devolve on such a wide basis. Chickens have come home to roost. Donald Trump and these power grabs in the legislature are symptoms of bigger problems.