It is difficult to wrap your mind around 1.25 billion dollars. I mean really, who has that kind of money in Mississippi? However, that is the figure the federal government is sending Mississippi for COVID-19 relief.
As we gather and review public/private expenses during this unprecedented event, instead of spending the money, we should invest it in ourselves and in the future of Mississippi.
Here are some proposals that could help us invest in our future:
1). Devote $300 million and create a grant program to our Power Districts to assist and offset the cost to hardwire every Mississippi Home for internet services.
2). Distant learning or learning from home is going to be part of our future. We should invest the amount needed to provide every K-through-12 student in the state of Mississippi a laptop computer. If we are going to invest in internet services in every home, then we need the hardware at home to support learning and skill development.
3). Utilize 100 million dollars to offset the unemployment tax rate increases on our Mississippi-based companies that had to lay off employees due to the virus and the Governor’s Shelter-at-Home Order.
4). Mississippians cannot afford to lose another hospital. $200 million should be set aside to reimburse our tier-one hospitals and support regional health clinics with COVID-19 bed capacity.
5). Use $50 million to create a Grant program to reimburse municipalities and county governments for out-of-pocket expenses.
6). Identify the amount needed to provide PPE to all of our first responders whether full time, part time, or volunteer. Too many of our firefighters and first responders have had to serve during this pandemic event without adequate PPE equipment and supplies.
7). Invest $100 million in our small Mississippi-based businesses. Allow every business a grant to act as seed money to reopen their businesses.
● Must be a Mississippi-based company with less than 100 employees
● An eligible company must be in good standing with the MS Secretary of State Office.
● Companies cannot owe back state taxes.
These are some recommendations on how I believe the money should be invested. I would be open to hearing your thoughts and comments Mississippi.
Chad McMahan, State Senator
Chad McMahan represents District 6 in the Mississippi Senate.