Put Nissan on campaign letterhead?
July 27, 2003
In a political sense, Gov. Ronnie Musgrove is right to tout the attraction of Nissan to Canton, as he did last week with the official announcement of his re-election campaign. Landing Nissan was one defining mark of his administration driving up the costs of state government was the other and our prediction is that we'll see a lot of Nissan in Musgrove's campaign in the weeks ahead.
The $1.4 billion Nissan plant opened in May and Musgrove says it has generated 30,000 direct and indirect jobs for employees from 73 of Mississippi's 82 counties. At last check, Mississippi put $363 million into the Nissan plant, which translates to about $69,000 per job expected to be created. Only a fraction of these folks are working right now, but Nissan and its suppliers are clearly staffing up and the company has been warmly embraced by Mississippians. We're only guessing here, but Nissan will likely work toward its future goals with whomever is elected governor. And, Musgrove conveniently forgets to mention another key player in the Nissan project, U.S. Sen. Trent Lott.
Musgrove and his minions have also failed to mention that Mississippi has lost more than 46,000 manufacturing jobs during his term of office, and that the June employment rate was the highest in the last 15 months.
It seems to us, in all fairness, that if the incumbent wants credit for Nissan he must also accept at least part of the blame for the loss of so many other manufacturing jobs. Not to mention the upward spiral of state spending on his watch. Republican Haley Barbour has suggested that Mississippi's budget woes center not on too little revenue but on too much spending. Musgrove apparently would like for voters to think that Mississippi's chief executive operates in some sort of political vacuum, basking in the glory of what he likes and ignoring the facts he doesn't like. Accountability should run true; he can't it both ways.
Let's not kid ourselves, Mississippi voters have some very serious decisions to make, both in the Aug. 5 primaries and the Nov. 4 general election.