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Dire straights

By Staff
Nov. 28, 2001
Mississippi taxpayers weather another budget storm created by disagreement between Legislature and Gov. Musgrove.
Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and the Mississippi Legislature are at odds again in an annual ritual over budget projections. They simply cannot seem to agree on how fast, if at all, the Mississippi economy will grow.
This would be something of a political joke except that the budget projection underpins the entire budgeting process that will highlight the next session of the Legislature. The projection determines how much money lawmakers have available to appropriate for state agencies and other operations of state government. Needless to say, it is an important figure.
In pre-session budget meetings this fall, the governor and key legislators have made little progress. Lawmakers cite a higher growth projection than the governor because they want more money to spend. Musgrove wants a lower projection because he doesn't want to suffer the political embarrassment of cutting key programs at mid-year.
Meanwhile, taxpayers must weather another budget storm.
Mississippi's economy is not likely to produce the 4.7 percent increase in revenue lawmakers are optimistically predicting. Some observers do not even expect a 2.6 percent increase for which the governor indicated he would settle.
Wouldn't it be great if, for once, lawmakers and the governor could put aside political differences and come to the same conclusion about the budget? Work together, for a change?