Blind ideology of no new taxes hides shell game
I hope you will find time to read Wyatt Emmerich’s column that starts on this page about the dysfunctional system of awarding government contracts at the state, county and municipal levels in Mississippi.
It seems as though the leaders who are constantly promoting legislation to make the state more “business friendly” are ignoring the complex, exemption-riddled bid laws now in place. We are left with a reputation of corruption that compromises our best business friendly intentions.
Meanwhile, the legislature appears content to allow highways, bridges and roads to further deteriorate with no plan to raise money for rehabilitation. Instead, after two years of the Mississippi Economic Council citing the economic loss to Mississippians from out-of-pocket vehicle repairs and to the state for the greater expense that will stem from maintenance and rehab having been deferred too long, House Speaker Philip Gunn at this late date calls for an independent group to evaluate the needs for construction and repair. At the same time, legislative leaders have asked MDOT to find ways to cut $50 million from their budget.
Funding for mental health, colleges and universities has been cut — and schools, can anyone figure out what is going on with school funding? We will learn the details when it’s a done deal.
Mississippi is following examples set in Louisiana by the Bobby Jindal administration and in Kansas by the Sam Brownback administration. Both were disastrous, but that lesson is apparently lost on this state’s legislature that cut taxes last year in a bid to make us more “business friendly.” Then when consumer taxes, mainly sales tax, started declining, we were left doubly strapped.
Everyone welcomes lower taxes, and everyone wants government operated as efficiently as it possibly can. But when we attach ourselves to a blind ideology that there can be no new taxes nor any raised, even to the detriment of essential government services, where are we then? We are left with making up the difference with increased local taxes — counties, municipalities and school districts while legislative leaders crow during their re-election campaigns about lowering our taxes.