Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sam Mims and Misplaced Priorities

Rep. Sam Mims
At the end of today's House session, House Public Health Committee Chairman and Tea Party champion Sam Mims (R-McComb), with the blessing of House Speaker Philip Gunn (R-Clinton), called up HB 49 and put it on track to be debated as early as tomorrow. This is a drug testing bill for recipients of TANF benefits. As a reminder, such testing was recently found to be unconstitutional in a federal court. It leads us to believe that something like the law won't get in Mims's way. Mims claims this bill is about helping people who may be on drugs, but that argument does not hold up considering that he has expressed no outrage that mental health services and drug courts are sustaining budget cuts and funding stagnation.

There is nothing mentioned in his bill discussing how much Mims is prepared to cost Mississippi taxpayers should a federal lawsuit be filed challenging the constitutionality of his legislation or a requirement that Governor Bryant also be subjected to a drug test even though he has offered to undergo the procedure. Unless the governor has something to hide, we are still waiting on his results.

The long list of health problems plaguing our state is staring Mims in the face, but this is how he sees appropriate to spend his committee's time.

This all comes on the day state economist Darrin Webb issued a report about our state's economic growth, and the news was not positive. By Webb's own admission, he is troubled by our lack of wage growth. Since 1990, Mississippi has lost roughly 85,000 manufacturing jobs while adding about 50,000 public sector jobs, including teachers and municipal workers. Studies show that Mississippi's public sector workers continue to earn thousands of dollars less than in neighboring states.

After all of these years being managed by Republicans and following what was supposed to be job-creating "tort reform," the record from Mississippi Republicans on economic development is a long blow of hot air.

No comments: