Dr. Michael Forster

Do state leaders need a math refresher?

Try to make sense of this:

State tax revenues continue to lag, so on Friday the governor ordered more cuts in spending for the current year (ending June 30).  This has become a depressing ritual; Friday’s cuts were the sixth round of reductions by Bryant in the past two fiscal years.

Making a bad situation worse, next fiscal year’s revenue projection was revised downward, necessitating new cuts across state government even as the “old” cuts are made permanent.  New cuts (on top of the old) include 1% for K-12 education, 6% for community colleges, and 5% for the IHL schools like Southern Miss, in addition to another 5% for Health, 2% for Mental Health, and under funding of the Medicaid deficit (among many other cuts; the suffering is truly broad-based).

Meanwhile, the leadership acts as if it’s blissfully unaware of the revenue impact of 40 tax cuts made over the past five year (about a $350 million loss for next year), or that of $415 million in new corporate tax reductions that start kicking in this year.  Instead they point to a slow national and state economic recovery as the culprit (no doubt due to turn around any time now!), and show no signs of willingness either to delay scheduled tax cuts, or to impose new taxes. Instead they strike a “suck it up” pose in regard to pleading agency administrators.  “This is going to require state agencies to do more with less,” said Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.  Thank you, Mr. Reeves, for that deep insight into fiscal prudence.

Does our state leadership really not get the simple math involved here?  Or do they really think that this is the government reducing “tough love” that Mississippi needs to improve the well being of its overly pampered citizenry?

Dr. Michael Forster
Dr. Michael Forster

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