Monday, January 23, 2012

Meet Your Chairmen, Part 1 - Rep. John Moore

As promised, the weekend brought a bit more time to study Speaker Philip Gunn's committee chairmen appointments.  According to Geoff Pender of the Sun Herald, Speaker Philip Gunn based his committee assignments on the laudable criteria of “capability, seniority, regionalism and political party”. At a minimum, there should have been a warning that those factors were listed in no particular order.  In truth, Gunn's stated criteria appear to have been listed in reverse order of importance.

So this week, check in daily for an introduction to some of the more notable committee appointments and remember, this House is your House, this House is my House from John Moore to Alex Monsour.

Meet your Chairman: Rep. John L. Moore (R-Brandon)

No chairmanship has drawn more scrutiny, angst, and surprise than Speaker Gunn’s appointment of Rep. John L. Moore as Education chairman. Echoing the sentiments of teachers across Mississippi, Moore said he was “blind sided” by the appointment.

Elected in November of 1995, Moore has served four full terms in the House, all without being a member of the Education, Universities & Colleges, or Appropriations Committees. Thankfully for our purposes here, Rep. Moore didn’t allow the fact that he has gone 0-4 in education-related committee assignments keep him from offering legislation on the subject. Consider these offerings:

  1. A measure reducing the number of school days from 180 to 170;
  2. measure to keep civil rights from being a required course of study in MISSISSIPPI;
  3. measure to require that all elections for Boards of Education be partisan;
  4. measure to eliminate remedial reading and writing courses;and
  5. measure establishing a school voucher program.

After reading these adventures in bill writing, you’ll understand why one Rankin County businessman had the following reply upon being told that Mr. Moore had ascended to the rank of Education Committee Chairman: “Yeah, and I’m an astronaut.” Hope that fella has his Tang ready.

Apart from Rep. Moore’s efforts to completely deconstruct the public education system through general bills, his efforts to “fund” the system should be interesting.

  • His first public statement after appointment was to tout the new political viability of charter schools, a maneuver that has been widely criticized as a method of defunding public schools. 
  • He has also annually filed bills to completely eliminate the corporate income tax. While Mississippi Economic Policy Center figures say over 80% of Mississippi corporations pay no such tax, corporate taxes do provide the state $431,000,000 in revenue for the annual budget.  In 2012, these corporate taxes amounted to 9.38% of the entire budget. 
  • Moore has also proposed legislation, with no co-sponsors, eliminating all individual state income tax (an estimated $1.38 billion, or 30.19% of the 2012 budget). 

Given these bills, it is not clear how Mississippi would fund any education whatsoever under Rep. Moore’s tax agenda.  But don't worry.  As long as reading and writing continue to be elective skills for Mississippi students, everything should be fine.

For Tuesday: Rep. Gary Chism (R-Columbus), Insurance Committee Chairman

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

After 4 months of this year's Legislative Session, the current Alabama State Motto will be enshrined on their highway welcome and entrance signs: "Welcome to Alabama, at least we are NOT Mississippi"!