State Fiscal Briefs

May 2022

Looking for Mississippi data related to the pandemic? We have health, economic, and fiscal data on our new tool, How the COVID-19 Pandemic is Transforming State Budgets.

Mississippi’s budget basics

According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), Mississippi’s total expenditures in fiscal year (FY) 2021 were $23.2 billion, including general funds, other state funds, bonds, and federal funds. NASBO reported that total expenditures across all states in FY 2021 were $2.7 trillion, ranging from $4.7 billion in Wyoming to $512.8 billion in California.

Each state allocates spending and taxes differently among different levels of governments, and local governments often administer programs with state funds, so combined state and local government data show a more complete picture of individual benefits and contributions when comparing states.

Per the US Census Bureau, Mississippi’s combined state and local direct general expenditures were $26.6 billion in FY 2019 (the most recent year census data were available), or $8,923 per capita. (Census data exclude “business-like” activities such as utilities and transfers between state and local governments.) National per capita direct general expenditures were $10,161.

Mississippi’s largest spending areas per capita were public welfare ($2,123) and elementary and secondary education ($1,577). The Census Bureau includes most Medicaid spending in public welfare but also allocates some of it to public hospitals. Per capita spending is useful for state comparisons but is an incomplete metric because it doesn’t provide any information about a state’s demographics, policy decisions, administrative procedures, or residents’ choices.

Mississippi’s combined state and local general revenues were $27.8 billion in FY 2019, or $9,333 per capita. National per capita general revenues were $10,563. Mississippi uses all major state and local taxes. After federal transfers, Mississippi’s largest sources of per capita revenue were charges ($2,071), such as state university tuition and highway tolls, and general sales taxes ($1,253).

Mississippi’s politics

Governor Tate Reeves, a Republican, was elected in 2019 with 52 percent of the vote. The next gubernatorial election is in 2023.

Republicans control both the House of Representatives (77 Republicans to 43 Democrats and 2 independents) and Senate (36 Republicans to 16 Democrats). Control of the governor’s mansion and each house of the legislature gives Republicans a trifecta in Mississippi. The entire legislature is up for election in 2023 because both representatives and senators serve four-year terms.

Mississippi’s budget institutions, rules, and constraints

Mississippi uses an annual budget. The legislature must pass a balanced budget and is prohibited from carrying a deficit over into the following year. Mississippi further limits both spending and revenue growth with binding rules that require a legislative supermajority or vote of the people to override. A three-fifths supermajority is also required for legislation that raises taxes or revenue. The state also limits total authorized debt incurred by the state.

(Note: Some states have informal budget institutions that constrain overall spending growth or a specific expenditure’s growth.)

Mississippi’s current budget

Governor Reeves released his FY 2023 budget proposal and gave his state of the state address in January 2022.

Mississippi enacted its FY 2022 budget in March 2021. The enacted budget included $5.8 billion in general fund appropriations, a 4 percent increases over FY 2021.

Under the American Rescue Plan, Mississippi will receive $1.8 billion in direct state fiscal aid and $679 million in local government aid from the federal government. As of January 2022, Mississippi had not yet reported how it plans to spend its state ARP funds.

According to NASBO, Mississippi’s recent expenditure totals (general fund spending/total spending, including federal transfers) were:

  • FY 2021: $5.6 billion/$23.2 billion

  • FY 2020: $5.7 billion/$19.9 billion

  • FY 2019: $5.5 billion/$19.2 billion

For more on Mississippi’s budget, see