How they mislead on unemployment:
Let's start with those unemployment claims. The House Republicans in the video are crowing about Mississippi's unemployment numbers. Sure they are the lowest they've been since 2008, which was right before the lending scandals that wrecked Wall Street and sunk the economy. But when we take a look at Mississippi's numbers in a bigger context, we see that Mississippi's unemployment numbers have dropped in accordance with the national unemployment numbers:
It's pretty hard to honestly claim credit for something when your numbers are a carbon-copy of the national numbers. But what about other states? How did our neighbors do?
Well, Alabama somewhat mirrored the federal employment rebound, but actually had a moment where their unemployment numbers were below the national average. And that's starting from a point where they were actually worse off than we were after the crash of 2008:
And Arkansas? They've been under the national average and much better off than us for a long time:
As for Louisiana, I'm sure there were plenty of snide remarks about how their job market was as bad as ours this time last year:
So Republicans can crow all they want, Mississippi is still the worst place in the South to try to find a job.
How they mislead on tax cuts and the budget:
Rep. Jeff Smith (R - Columbus), is seen in the video boasting about tax cuts for small businesses helping to grow the state's economy. And then Rep. Herb Frierson (R - Poplarville) comes on to say that House Republicans have magically and singlehandedly turned a $587M budget hole into a $410M budget surplus. Well, the state's economy hasn't grown in response to any state action, as shown above. But that won't stop the Republicans from trying to claim credit for it, of course. (What are they going to do after all, thank Obama?!?) So what gives?
There's really no better way of explaining this than Sarah Miller's piece in the Meridian Star from April of 2014. Here's a lengthy quote:
So what the Republicans are really excited about is using money from the national economic rebound to fund the tax cuts Rep. Smith is talking about instead of rehiring the teachers that were fired in the wake of the Great Recession.Did we really have a surplus in the state budget? It depends on what you mean by surplus. The surplus created by the recent increase in revenue estimates for creation of next year’s budget means that we have had more money than we expected, not more than we need.While revenues are finally rebounding, they are coming up from a deep trough that caused, among other things, teacher layoffs, reduced per pupil spending at grade schools and high schools, increased college tuition rates, and a dramatic shortage of state troopers.The revenue surplus is due to understandably conservative revenue estimates that were far below actual revenue collections and spending that was kept largely at recessionary levels. Needs have grown, but state support for education, public safety, and other things that bolster our economy has just recently gotten back up to 2008 levels. Furthermore, providing those services has gotten more expensive, so spending at 2008 levels actually gets us less than it did in 2008.
It's funny that Rep. Frierson mentioned there has been a $1B turnaround. Why is that funny? Because Republicans in the House have also underfunded education by $260M a year for four years. You do the math.
What have they really been up to for the last four years?
Well aside from getting fat on lobbyist's steak dinners while gutting education, not much, actually. They did vote to give tax breaks to out-of-state corporations like Wal-mart. They also refused to allow our federal tax dollars to come back to Mississippi to pay our doctors and nurses so that our hospitals wouldn't go bankrupt. And they voted to penalize workers who were hurt on the job. As far as legislative accomplishments go, that's not much to crow about.