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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – The Mississippi Department of Revenue is requesting a 66 percent budget increase for the coming year, telling lawmakers the investment would lead to more efficient tax collections.

Revenue Commissioner Ed Morgan says he needs to hire more people to answer phone calls and to pursue overdue taxes.

Department spokeswoman Kathy Waterbury says the department is working to collect about $700 million of the $1 billion owed in delinquent taxes.

The Revenue Department’s request was the biggest percentage increase requested during this week’s state budget hearings, but lawmakers did not immediately balk at it. House Speaker Philip Gunn says the department brings in money that funds state government.

The department has a $59 million budget this year, and it’s requesting $97.7 million for fiscal 2015, which begins July 1.

 

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