Opinion – 4/4/2003

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 4, 2003

The Panolian Editorial

For additional opinions and articles,
pick up the 4/4/03  issue of The Panolian

Election-Year Political Games Hurt Mississippi

Most folks aren’t all that fond of tax increases. Count me among them.

But I’m even less fond of lawmakers who don’t raise taxes when they should simply because it’s an election year.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

That’s what happened in Mississippi this year.

It really bugs me. Why can’t our lawmakers worry more about doing the right thing and less about getting re-elected?

Some do. But it’s obvious most don’t or we would have seen some increases during the current legislative session that is due to end Sunday or sooner.

Gov. Ronnie Musgrove threatened, and followed through Wednesday, with his veto of two bills in the $3.6 billion budget. They were bills that, if signed into law, would almost wipe out the state’s rainy-day funds.

One called for spending $77 million on day-to-day operations – a frightening money use idea. The other would allow the state to spend about $71 normally set aside for urgent matters.

Hopefully a compromise will get worked out this week. We’ll see.

One tax increase that no doubt should have been passed was the one to up taxes on cigarettes.

Frankly, I forget how much revenue it would bring in but I recall it was significant … not to mention how many people may have quit given the new higher prices.

Mississippi has one of the highest per capita rates of smokers in the country and just think what it would mean if lots of them quit.

For one thing, it would mean less state taxpayer dollars going to fund Medicaid to pay for health care for those who suffer from smoking-related illnesses.

It should never have come to this point. Some tax increases should have been mixed in with cuts and reasonable savings use.

Because this didn’t happen, the state most likely is going to be in an even bigger financial mess a year from now. And that will mean an even bigger tax increase.

But, hey, it won’t be an election year.

Ok. Let’s have a little fun … albeit politically incorrect … and Southern. Here’s an offering a friend sent via the internet.

Southern terrorist advisory

ATLANTA – The governors of Alabama, North and South Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia, and Mississippi announced today that they have made a disturbing discovery in their states.

Apparently, a small number of Al Qaeda terrorists have become romantically involved with local redneck girls. The result is not pretty and the governors now have the sad task of reporting the emergence of a new race: Islamabubbas.

So far, only a smattering of actual births have been reported, but Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition is hard at work trying to isolate and seal them off. To date, the Coalition has identified the following offsprings:

Mohammed Billy Bob Abba Bubba,
Mohammed Rubba Dub Dubba Bubba,
Bobbie Joe Bubba Amgood Atit,
Betty Jean Hasbeena Badgurl,
Linda Sue Bin There Dunthat

Not surprisingly, the Coalition believes they all seem to have sprung from one couple: Mohammed Whoozyadaddy and Yomamma Bin Lovin!

Kate Dickson can be reached at editor@panolian.com

(Kate Dickson can be reached by email at: editor@panolian.com)