Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) received a boost in state funding for the coming fiscal year (FY 2015). The Mississippi state legislature approved a 9% increase in funding. Of almost equal importance, the bill was approved unanimously in the Senate and with only three dissenting votes in the House.
Over the past five years, MPB’s state funding has decreased and MPB has made a concerted effort to cut costs and operate on as lean a budget as possible. During the economic downturn in Mississippi, MPB made the concerted decision never to ask for funding increases, despite the fact that expenses have steadily risen.
Mississippi’s state revenues are on the rise this year, though, so the leadership at MPB decided to appeal for a modest increase in funding to cover maintenance needs that had been put off as state funding decreased. MPB made the case that additional funding will help preserve and maintain the state’s multi-million dollar investment in MPB’s infrastructure and ensure that the station is able to carry out its legislative mandate of broadcasting to every corner of the state.
Relationship-building has been key to MPB’s success. Over the past four years, MPB has moved from defending the need for state funding to creating champions from former foes. This has been accomplished through regular communication with legislators on both sides of the political aisle and emphasizing MPB’s services at the local level. In talking with legislators, MPB highlights not only its educational services but also its work in disseminating emergency information, strengthening the state’s economy and providing Mississippians with tools to improve their health.