Saturday, April 1, 2017

Bill Crawford: Session was a fiasco.

Give it a break, guys. The we-can’t-spend-money-we-don’t-have argument is just a little too false-hearted.

 
The GOP talking point was embellished by House Public Health Committee Chairman Sam Mills:
 
“What I always tell my children, gentlemen, is that we can’t print money,” Mims said. “Often I look outside in my backyard, and I say, ‘Do you see a money tree?’ And I don’t see a money tree. … So tell them we’re doing the best we can with the budget we have today.”
 
Well, of course there is no money tree, because the Legislature, under GOP leadership, has been impulsively whacking mature money trees and not planting new ones.
 
"More than 40 tax cuts lawmakers have passed over the last five years," the Clarion-Ledger reported, "for next year will reduce state revenue by more than $350 million."
 
"Tax collections have been lagging for two years, thanks to tax cuts and a barely growing state economy,” reported the Associated Press.
 
Starting next fiscal year, another $415 million in tax cuts will begin phasing in, whacking even more money trees.
 
Meanwhile, efforts to plant new money trees have been blocked.
 
Gov. Phil Bryant encouraged legislators to consider a state lottery that could generate $100 million in new money.
 
House Speaker Philip Gunn blocked that money tree.
 
The Speaker pushed to collect taxes on Internet sales that could add $60 to $100 million in new revenues.
 
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves blocked that money tree.
 
The Tax Foundation expert Gunn and Reeves brought in to help revamp the state's tax structure said gas taxes should be increased to pay for needed road and bridge repairs.
 
But, both Gunn and Reeves blocked that money tree.
 
They also ignored a call by House Conservative Coalition President Becky Currie to delay the upcoming tax cuts.
 
The combination of widespread tax cuts, minimal economic growth, and no new revenue sources has resulted in four mid-year budget cuts by Gov. Phil Bryant this year, following two last year, deep draws on the state's rainy day fund, and a miserable budget outlook for the coming year.
 
"This is deliberate wreckage we have brought on ourselves," said Democratic Sen. David Blount, pinning the tail on the Republicans' we-can’t-spend-money-we-don’t-have donkey.
 
"I have never seen it this bad," said House Appropriations Chairman John Read.  
 
It got worse.
 
The House and Senate have been killing each other's bills. During the last days of the session things came to a head over the bond bill, Internet taxes, and transportation funding. The House put voluntary Internet tax collections into the bond bill to help fund road and bridge repairs. Reeves, then, killed the bond bill. In response, Gunn got the House to kill the Department of Transportation appropriation bill.
 
Reeves, then, accused House members of lying.
 
Appropriately, both houses adjourned without resolving differences, making a special session needed to finish their business.
 
Descending from false-hearted statements to falsehoods is a needless fiasco for our GOP leaders, just like their budget and this legislative session.
 
Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian (crawfolk@gmail.com)

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

The folly of Crawford's (and other similar laments from opinionists) is that somehow government was right-sized before the cuts and revenues went south.

Well, bullshit.

Anonymous said...

This budget doesn't rightsize anything, just starves the good with the bad.

Anonymous said...

This isn't opinion. This is fact. We know it's fact by merely looking at other states that have tried this. Not to mention the nation as a whole. Trickle down economics doesn't work. At least not for the non top 1%. Kansas and Louisiana are prime examples. Why, other than enriching themselves and their johns, they keep doing this, I don't know. We have people who've never done anything in the private world trying to make government run like a private business. Yet, they have no idea how, because they've never been in the private sector, or they were miserable failures in it. Mims has never done anything in the private sector. His bio lists him being chair of his local Republican committees as experience. Bryant has never had a paycheck that didn't have County, City or State of on the front of it. Reeves, other than some vague mention of a couple of years in banking, has no private experience. Gibson is a lawyer who works in banking and finance regulation, again, no real world experience. Read is a pharmacist, but at a locally owned pharmacy, or a chain? I have to assume a chain. Gunn is another big firm lawyer, but at least has accidentally maybe seen a real person in doing general insurance defense litigation, but again, someone who doesn't have to worry about bills or overhead in their professional life. Is there not a single business person in a position of leadership? Someone who has actually run a business? Hob Bryan is also a lawyer, but appears to be a solo practitioner. While that may not be running a small business by the truest since of the word, you are responsible for your own overhead and making a living. Maybe that's why he seems to have more sense than the rest.

Anonymous said...

It's too soon to tell if the tax cuts will accomplish what they were intended to do -- which was always, only, and ever to get Tate Reeves elected Governor. Sound fiscal policy had nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for eliminating Jim Hood from consideration @1:02 because like Obama he's got zero experience beyond, in Hood's case, running a law shop that farms everything out.

I will give Hood credit though for having slightly, ever so, more experience than Obama.

Anonymous said...

In 2019 the voters will elect Tate so we will have 8 more years of this to look forward to.

Anonymous said...

If they cut their salaries and benefits by the same percentage that they cut taxes, the House and Senate would seem more honest.

What tax cuts are really about for politicians is getting more " donations" from the wealthy supporters by giving them more disposable income . Norquist has become quite wealthy for someone without a job that contributes nothing to the economy.

Worse, our taxes are actually going up on every purchase we make and at the local level. Check out the taxes on your bills. There's even an " energy tax" on bottled water now. Amazon is taxing you now.

And, then the interest rate going up is going to increase the cost of debt.

The wealthy can write many of the local and purchase taxes off. You can't. They don't have personal debt, you do.

It's the math. In the end, economics is about math.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:19pm

"It's too soon to tell if the tax cuts will accomplish what they were intended to do -- which was always, only, and ever to get Tate Reeves elected Governor. Sound fiscal policy had nothing to do with it."

Well the short term results are brutal, because state agencies are having to make cuts, when they've been making cuts since Phil Bryant has become governor.

To sit up here and say the are "right sizing" government, is bullsh*t - especially when the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, is pushing for measures to add more oversight to agencies that have departments and/or divisions that already handle those auditing duties. No, what they are attempting to do is privatize the services many state agencies provide, without citizens having any input. They are still going to collect tax revenues, but they are going to channel them to wealthy private campaign donors - that have private companies who can execute these so-called services at "cost" - when in actuality they are simply cutting corners, paying less people to do the work, and simply maklng a profit - instead of looking out for the publics best interest.

Mississippian's bought this lemon and barely put any miles on it - its only going to get worse from here - BOOK IT!

Anonymous said...

The state's government is way too big. Ignore the liberal teeth-gnashing and keep on cutting. The taxpayers want our money back.

Anonymous said...

1024 pm Do tell us how much money you've gotten back. And, tell us how you stimulated the economy. How many new jobs did you create to make up for state jobs lost?

Anonymous said...

@ 10:24pm

You are that same joker that wears a mullet and has a scorpion tattoo and talks about how much safer Rankin County is over Jackson! You are troglodyte pizzle that keeps electing the same sorry legislators who profit off of your ignorance!

@ 6:46am - well said!

Anonymous said...

646, while I try to stop crying for all the bureaucrats who have had to tighten up their work ethic, please tell me how many state workers have lost their job. This year, or just so you can use the fingers on both hands to help you count, the last five years. Other than normal retirements, and those that leave on their on decision to go into the private sector after getting their internship working for the gubmint, I want to know the actual loss of jobs from stopping the growth in government these past couple of years.

Anonymous said...

10:24 - in case you do not know - "ignorant" means to be without knowledge.

You are without knowledge of the facts and without knowledge of the real effects of this administration's ongoing agenda to enrich themselves and their friends to the detriment of the working tax payers of the state.

Anonymous said...

they don’t love anything more than unbridled capitalism, their own personal enrichment, their rising stock portfolios and profits for their enterprises and big campaign donors.

Anonymous said...

I work remotely from the good ole state of Sippi. Let me tell you - if you thought this great state could not find anymore ways to embarrass you, they continue to outdo themselves. I have a very specialized skill set. I am fortunate, but I have worked hard for everything I have. In as much I've had the opportunity to work for small IT startups headquartered in different parts of the globe. It never fails that when I move companies I end up missing my first "paycheck" because it takes FOREVER to get the proper tax ID from the dept. of revenue. You're stuck on stupid with snail mail/phone E.T. if you don't have a physical business address or aren't registered to do business through the SOS's office. Before you start yapping that every business should be registered in the state - you're wrong. I literally just live here. No business is transacted in this state by my company. The upside is: the state does nothing but collect the highest personal income tax rate alllowable annually from me. They've done nothing to "lure" this company here or provide added tax breaks or credits for them to employ me. I have attracted their attention and the state reaps the benefits.

Side note: the ROI on taxes paid to this state is absolutely atrocious. How could any elected official be proud of the job they've been doing?

Back to my original commentary. Is it not enough for the state to be grateful they have someone with a six figure salary to tax. No. Not happening. The state is diving, dialing, auditing, and snail mailing for dollars right now. They are desperate. Desperate. They have harassed my new employer for months now. They've had to fill out stacks of paperwork and answer numerous calls to prove they don't have a physical location and don't have to pay state sales tax on orders because nobody in this damn state has a need for what they sell. It's beyond embarrassing. Why would any business want to open a physical location or do business in this state after this level of harassment? I work with people from all over the world. All over the country. The mistreatment, and bogus attempts to collect revenue that doesn't exist by Mississippi's DOR stands out heads and tails above the rest of the freaking civilized world!

This state's revenue bullshit is giving it another black eye. Why would anyone recommend a business locate here? I couldn't in good conscience. And I'm a native. Embarrassed native. Because it's clear, if your business isn't paying the pigs at the trough for protection and friend's and family tax cuts - you are screwed. Mississippi is last in lots of things that matter because it chooses to be. It won't take another legislative for the everyday people paying the state's bills to figure out this stuff is rigged. I'm afraid we are in for a rough ride for a long time. Especially with the possibility of the Jimmy Swaggart of the state Republican Party, Tater, at the helm. Because his sins are a plenty.

Aaron From Amory.. said...

Hob Bryan? Why is he even mentioned? If you think that Lilliputian has walking around sense, listen to him implode some day on Gallo. He's a shrill, arrogant little hick from nowheresville with the attitude of a democrat who has been refused a cake at the bakery.

Anonymous said...

He's a shrill, arrogant little hick from nowheresville with the attitude of a democrat who has been refused a cake at the bakery.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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