Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Republicans Sure Would Hate Cuts They Supported

If you have been tuned into the news this week, you have seen the stories about House Appropriations Chairman Herb Frierson (R-Poplarville) calling together the heads of state agencies to warn them about possible funding cuts if Initiative 42 is approved by voters this November. This is not the first time Frierson has tried this divide and conquer strategy to try and win his position. He used similar talking points when he rejected any attempt to broaden access to Medicaid services in the state. He has killed any attempt to provide hospitals and medical professionals with more paying customers, and he is now trying to scare away and defeat any attempt to provide public schools with the resources they need to educate our students. The message from the Republicans is clear: if you vote to force us fund our own public education formula, then we are going to blame you for firing hundreds of people. This is a false choice set up by Frierson and his fellow House Republicans who refuse to roll back any corporate tax giveways or dip into $622 million of unappropriated revenue to make up the $200 million funding gap in K-12 education.

Herb Frierson
Here is the biggest dose of hypocrisy: Frierson voted for a 30 percent cut to state agency funding earlier this year. If you recall from this year's legislative session, Frierson and the Republicans voted for a politically-motivated cut of around 30 percent to the state's general fund. There were no hearings on the bill. There was no consultation with the state economist. There was no summoning of state agency leaders to alert them of the impacts. How many people would state agencies have had to lay off if the Republicans' tax cut bill had been signed into law? We will never know, because Frierson did not care to ask.

Frierson's crocodile tears underscore what we already know about their stunning hypocrisy: Republicans do not want to fully support Mississippi's education system. They are pulling out all the stops to deflect from their own failures on public education. Frierson and the leadership team of Speaker Philip Gunn (R-Clinton) can try to change the subject all they want, but the fact is well known that you can either be a Republican or support public education - but you cannot do both.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think I'd change your tag line to be "You can either be a Republican or fund government agencies to do their job - but you cannot do both."

I don't think the legislature, governor or the people of this state realize just how close their government agencies are to total collapse. When you have as many state workers that are as underpaid, and close to retirement as MS has, you are on a knife's edge. When those senior workers quit, the people behind them are mostly VERY inexperience and incredibly underpaid. Every agency in order to maintain the years of budge cuts thrown at them, have done so by simply NOT hiring replacements to those that leave. They consolidate groups under one supervisor instead of promoting when a supervisory position comes open. Doing this means you DO NOT have anyone behind the current supervisors ready to step into leadership roles. New hires DO NOT STAY if they are competent, because they can almost double their pay elsewhere. Five years from now I fully expect to see story after story about how state government 'failed'. Why? Because you can't ask someone to be SEVERELY underpaid, while doing 3-4 jobs that they've never been trained to do. When it all falls apart it's going to be VERY expensive to fix.