Friday, January 29, 2016

A State of the State that doesn’t add up

Regardless of how many times you say something, it does not make that statement true – even if you say it to the entire legislature, media and citizens of the state.

In his 2016 State of the State address, Governor Phil Bryant said the following:
“We now face a new year where I am able to inform the people and the duly elected members of the House and Senate – the state of the state in Mississippi is sound.”

Of course, he had to immediately brush off the fact that revenue projections were not met this year causing mid-year budget cuts along with a raiding of the rainy day fund. And revenue projections for next year are already down. Add to this the jobless rate INCREASING from 6% to 6.4% in the month of December (and still remaining much higher than the national rate of 5%). Even the Republican legislature’s best friend ALEC said our economy is terrible (though not the worst) ranking us 41st out of 50 on whatever arbitrary scale they produced.

ALEC is not the only group to give us a poor ranking on our economy, and Education Week is not the only group to name us 49th in the country for our abysmal education system. And while we might be “sound” because we have more money than is necessary in our rainy day fund for the future lack of revenue, nothing has improved in the lives or everyday Mississippians in the last four years – not benefits, not access to healthcare, not education, not job opportunities. It would be unfair to say pay hasn’t increased – from 2010 to 2014 the median household income did increase $273, allowing us to maintain our spot at 50th in the nation.

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