OUR OPINION: Expect busy week for deadline matters

By NEMS Daily Journal

Momentum for action on bills – move forward or die – automatically builds as the final month of the session approaches in the Mississippi Legislature.
This week three deadlines require come kind of action to keep bills alive, with Wednesday the deadline for action on appropriations and revenue bills in the house of origination.
Bills falling under the first deadline include a local option municipal sales tax and an increase in the state fuel tax to shore up highway maintenance and construction funds.
It’s possible that another major bond bill could be considered and passed in the House, but only for state buildings not on college or university campuses.
It’s possible bond bills or a single bill could go to conference, where bond bills historically have been amended and enlarged, but that action is not imminent.
It has been suggested that legislative leaders weigh budget decisions for 2014 with the impact of sequestration cuts for numerous Mississippi programs, ranging from education to elderly nutrition, with potential strong and expensive impact on services and positions.
It has been estimated by the White House that 9,000 Mississippi jobs would be lost if sequestration is implemented for the full $87 billion that would be cut in the next seven months.
A 9,000-person cut in employment regardless of the source would reasonably be expected to have a significant adverse impact in personal income eliminated and revenues lost to the state in the spending of that income.
In a conference call briefing by White House officials Monday afternoon, reporters from across the nation were told to expect spending and job reductions across the next seven months if an agreement delaying the sequestration is not reached by Congress and the White House by Friday.
Mississippi can’t stop sequestration, but it can prepare for unavoidable impacts.