Mississippi Treasurer Lynn Fitch cautions lawmakers about debt


Treasurer Lynn Fitch has done the debt study in each of the last three years.
Treasurer Lynn Fitch has done the debt study in each of the last three years. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Treasurer Lynn Fitch urges lawmakers to keep a handle on state debt as she reveals the state has above average debt.

That was one of the results of her third annual debt affordability study.

“Prudent debt practices have helped Mississippi achieve the kind of strong credit ratings essential to economic growth and development,” Fitch said in a news release.  “But our legislators must maintain a steady course.  I prepare this study each year to give them the tools they need for good budget management.”

Besides having above-average debt among the 50 states, the study also found:

-- MS net tax supported debt per capita (the amount of debt for every man, woman and child in the state) is $1,747 and has been gradually, continually increasing

-- U.S. median net tax supported debt per capita is $1,012 and has dropped each of the last three years

-- Mississippi is well below the constitutionally mandated debt limit

-- The debt limit as of Dec. 13 was $13.3 billion

-- Outstanding total bond indebtedness as of Dec. 31 was $4.19 billion (or 31.51 percent of the limit)

Find an economic snapshot of Mississippi finances here. Find your House member and his/her contact information here. And the same for the Senate.

“The important thing for legislators to understand about this report is this is merely a tool to guide them in spending and bonding decisions,” Fitch continued.  “It is not a prescription for incurring additional debt.  We are well within our debt limit now, but that is simply a mathematical fact.  It’s not an excuse to go on a shopping spree.