Seven additional Mississippi counties under COVID-19 restrictions; governor releases budget recommendation

Coronavirus

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced additional counties that have qualified to be under mask mandates under his “Safe Recovery” executive order that is in effect through December 11, 2020.

The following counties are: Hinds, Madison, Pontotoc, Tate, Winston, Itawamba, and Montgomery counties. As of now, 22 of Mississippi’s 82 counties are included in this executive order.

Reeves also announced his Fiscal Year 2022 Executive Budget Recommendation. In the budget documents, the governor proposed to eliminate the income tax for Mississippians. The elimination of the income tax would save a Mississippian making $40,000 nearly $2,000. FY 2022 is the first year for the 3% income tax to be completely eliminated and is the right time to begin a complete phase-out of the income tax.

“Because this plan is a phased approach, we will be able to ensure adequate funding will be available for education, law enforcement, health care, and transportation priorities,” Reeves said. “It will not be necessary for us to increase other taxes in order to make up for lost revenue from the elimination of the income tax.”

The budget summary also highlights funding the police, protecting small businesses, creating a Patriotic Education Fund, supporting quality education, increasing workforce development, funding the Coronavirus response, funding the judiciary, and protecting the integrity of Medicaid.

In his budget, Reeves is recommending $2 million to train and prepare teachers across the state in computer science courses to provide K-12 students with coding, cyber training, robotics, and artificial intelligence skills. The governor is also recommending $3 million to fund more coaches to target math. 

Reeves is also proposing $50 million in one-time funds to accelerate workforce growth.  Those funds would be used to facilitate six specific goals as listed in the budget: 1) Modernize and expand community college training programs, 2) Provide scholarships or wage assistance to help low-income citizens get into training programs or apprenticeships, 3) Develop the right industry certified credentials or programs in high-school, 4) Grow Mississippi’s path of IT-based skills, 5) Expand dual credit programs in high-schools, and 6) Incentivize career technical courses in high-schools.

The full budget and an executive summary of key priorities can be found here.

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