Sunday, July 10, 2016

Bill Crawford: Reeves' Fiscal Credibility at Risk

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves has put his fiscal credibility on the line.
 
The former investment banker told voters in 2011 he was “a true, proven fiscal conservative with a record of executive leadership who will take the difficult stance necessary to ensure our state makes the right financial decisions.”
 
Reeves appeared to make the right financial decisions during his two terms as State Treasurer and during his first term as Lieutenant Governor when he championed tight budgets, limited borrowing, tax cuts, and “ending the long-time shell game of spending one-time money on recurring expenses.”
 
Then came 2016.
That’s when tax cuts he championed came home to roost, reducing state revenues so much that Gov. Phil Bryant had to make two mid-year budget cuts, take money out the rainy day fund, and, then, call a special session to take even more out of the rainy fund.
 
During its 2016 regular session, the Legislature yielded to last minute pressure to pass the Budget Transparency and Simplification Act endorsed by Reeves. Among other things, this controversial bill grabbed millions from agencies’ special funds to shore up the fiscal year budget that began July 1st …once again using “one-time money on recurring expenses.” 
 
 
 
Mounting evidence indicates that hasty calculations and underestimating the impact of multi-million dollar tax cuts will lead to a more substantial budget shortfall this year.
 
And, despite weakening revenue collections, Reeves championed and got passed $415 million in new tax cuts.
 
So, is the Lieutenant Governor providing “executive leadership” to make the “right financial decisions?”
 
Elected Republicans, State Treasurer Lynn Fitch, Insurance Commission Mike Chaney, and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, have criticized the Legislature’s fiscal actions.
 
Appointed Republican heads of major state agencies questioned the wisdom and legality of the new budget act and announced unanticipated layoffs and program shutdowns.
 
Democrats called for “a return to fiscal sanity.”
 
The unapologetic Reeves said he doesn’t respond to Democrats’ complaints, adding, "they're frustrated.
 
This response and others lead some observers to wonder if the intelligent Millsaps College alumnus is becoming more politician than leader. They point to his weak leadership on efforts to raise taxes for needed road and bridge repairs and his reluctance to accept ownership of current fiscal problems, e.g. blaming the Revenue Estimating Committee for underestimating tax revenue, legislative staff for a $56 million revenue miscalculation, and the “Obama economy” for the sluggish state economy (other states’ successes notwithstanding).  
 
In contrast to Reeves’ leadership, they point to how just retired House Appropriations Chairman Herb Frierson took responsibility for problems with the new budget act. During the special session he said, “It was my responsibility to be more diligent, and I wasn’t.”
 
In response to criticism, Reeves contends that state finances are sound, any budget act problems can be easily remedied, long-range tax policy shouldn't be based on short-term revenue problems, and his tax cuts will ultimately spur economic growth and tax revenues.
 
The coming year will fully reveal how 2016 impacted Reeves' fiscal credibility ... and future electability. 
 
Mr. Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian (crawfolk@gmail.com)

36 comments:

Tater Hater said...

Great decisions as a state treasurer my ass. He lost over two billion of PERS funds by investing in sub prime, CDO, derivative bullshit. Anyone with internet access knew that shit was bogus. Of course, the criminals he invested the PERS funds with were the same people who funded his campaign war chest. Mr Crawford needs to pull his head out of his ass and do some real research.

Kingfish said...

Wow. Did that all by himself. If you knew anything about PERS, which you don't, you would know that the Investment Committee makes the investment decisions. No one person has that control over the investing. Major decisions such as changing advisers and fund managers are made by the PERS Board of Trustees.

By the way, can you show me the report or in writing where they lost two billion dollars in that subprime CDO derivative bullshit as you put it? Everyone got hammered by the markets that year.

Anonymous said...

The financial disaster will make him vulnerable to a challenge in the GOP primary from Fitch, Hoseman, or someone else. If Reeves is the nominee, Hood has a really good shot.

Anonymous said...

Fitch not running for Gov. Hood loses regardless the GOP opponent and the Republicans won't be nominating some unknown truck driver.

Anonymous said...

How many poor Jackson families have the resources to take their children to see the Red Sox play in Fenway?

Anonymous said...

As a lifelong LIFELONG 71 year old Republican, I can say without hesitation that these new "Republican Party" leaders suck.

Anonymous said...

there is no doubt that Tater has the smarts to understand. the problem is that he has let his political ambition trump (no pun intended) his smarts. like virtually every other politician, he sold his soul for his next election. Sad.

Anonymous said...

The goal is to end government.

Cuts are designed to kill jobs...government jobs. They vote democrat.

Tate's end game is zero (as close as you can get) government.

So quit acting surprised.

Anonymous said...

KF: a good in depth look at Tate Reeves and his tactics would make a great story. Talk to any legislator or lobbyist and they will tell you how he strong arms and bullies his stuff through. I have heard that if you don't vote for his special projects, he will black ball your legislation. And donations to his campaign chest is a prerequisite to having your bill hit the floor.

Anonymous said...

This is a hell of a lot better than his last column.

Anonymous said...

No government won't be any worse than the government decades of Democrats left us with.

Anonymous said...

9:30 PM, Reeves isn't any different than any other strong arm politico of the past 100 years. You are naive as they come if you think differently.

Anonymous said...

I thought Tate was a bank teller in Florence before entering politics.

It's Irrelevant, But... said...

"How many poor Jackson families have the resources to take their children to see the Red Sox play in Fenway?"

How many middle class Madison families have the resources to take their children to see the Red Sox play in Fenway? Stokes will send the poor Jackson kids. Nobody will send my family!

Anonymous said...

I liked his last column.

Anonymous said...

Tate knows what he's doing. Problem is he does a bad job of explaining it to the rest of us (i.e, taxpayers, agency heads, legislators, media)...like how the college fund fell apart after he was Treasurer...and the huge miscalculation on the budget estimates. Mississippians are all for less government within reason, but this year's madness has caused so much frustration, it has everyone screaming "who's accountable?"

C'mon now! How do huge tax cuts resulting in multiple raids in the rainy day fund make sense? What happens when that fund runs dry? What happens when all the special funds run dry?

Spots Wild Claim... said...

12:01 a.m. shares this bit of wisdom:

"Mississippians are all for less government within reason..."

Really? Survey please.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree any more with Mr. Crawford and some of the people who have posted here. I, too, am a lifelong Republican. The decisions that Lt. Gov. Reeves are making are bad for our state. No matter if you're R or D, black or white, conservative or liberal...bad decisions are bad decisions. He has his PR person come out swinging and blaming Obama. I don't buy what you're selling Reeves. I don't think you have been good for our state. I hope we survive another 3 1/2 years of you. I think you need to go back to the drawing board and talk to some other mentors other than Boss Hog in Yazoo City. I will not be voting for you in the future.

Anonymous said...

Gee, Tate must have missed finance class the day we learned that you know what your revenues ( income) are going to be before you budget. And, I guess he didn't take civics at all in high school or else he'd know that there are key responsibilities that only government can accomplish like common infrastructure and safety as well as military defense.

He must have watched television a lot and where reality is made to fit the fantasy. Now he's finding out that what you want to believe and what is aren't the necessarily the same. Read more Tate and watch less TV.

Anonymous said...

4:57,,,,,
Survey says!!!
See your last round of statewide elected office results.
DA

Anonymous said...

Sorry KF,

Forgot you had a crush on Tate, Leland and the boys. I bet they invite you to all their social gatherings. Well... maybe not.

Kingfish said...

Can't cite any actual facts so we start name-calling and firing personal insults.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Reeves: Please go ask California about the "Obama Economy"... 2009 big budget shortfalls (26 billion) to now a budget surplus. The last time I checked, they were a state in the USA just like us. I'd really like to know why such a liberal state like that can have a budget surplus. You went to Millsaps: perhaps the only known center of extreme left-wing education in the state. Surely those professors have friends who teach in other liberal bastions on the 'left coast' and can get you meeting. Or perhaps, you could get on an airplane (at the recently acquired airport) and fly out there and take it in. It will cost you an arm and a leg financially, but hey, at least theres jet service. (or should the state make you drive to memphis or new orleans for a Southwest flight?)

You may be shocked, shocked I tell you to find out that most of the boom in California is in technology in the SF Bay Area. Of course, that area is known for a lifestyle that we pass laws to protect our citizens from. Don't be scared of them! You should worry more about all the immigrants living there--the real sinister presence. Why can't our state--with much lower taxes on corporations AND individuals lure a few tech companies to all those empty buildings in downtown Jackson. We have coffeehouses, food trucks, popsicles, and of course-inexpensive real estate.

If the state can't afford that, please visit states like Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina, Alabama--you know..the ones that are doing well despite the "Obama Economy." And hey, they are all (yes all) governed by Republicans-your political 'tribe.' I would think you wouldn't have to call in favors from Millsaps to set up a meeting or two. Ask them how their states are doing so well. I would suspect is has much more to do with the fact that they are actual Republicans who have care and concern for the people of their state instead of 'taking care of friends' who contribute to their re-election lockboxes.

Most "R" or "D" leaders in this state have a clue. WHY do we keep electing them?

Anonymous said...

Mississippi has Popsicles?

Anonymous said...

While California is experiencing a recovery, you seem to gloss over the fine print of how and the perils they face in the future:

"The budget includes a $1.1 billion compromise on a new tax on health insurers to replace one that will expire in June. Brown said the tax is critical to maintaining the state health care program for the poor, which is projected to cover 13.5 million people by 2017, nearly a third of the state's population."

A THIRD OF THE POPULATION! No state or country can continue to prosper if more and more people are moving into poverty.

"The substantial investments proposed by Brown's administration underscore the state's soaring economic recovery. The state faced a $26 billion budget deficit when Brown took office in 2011, forcing deep cuts to social welfare programs, schools and universities."

What a Democrat had to make cuts to social welfare, schools and universities!?! But, but, but... Tate... spittle... Tate!

"Advocates also have been pushing the state to raise reimbursement for doctors who provide care in the Medi-Cal program, which was cut by 10 percent during the recession. Brown did not propose an increase Thursday."

Hmmm?

"Brown called special sessions last year to address the health care tax and a $59 billion backlog in transportation infrastructure spending, but neither gained traction. He said Thursday that he'll get more involved in negotiating with lawmakers on both issues this year."

$59 BILLION backlog.... Sounds like someone can't pay for what they want?

"He said his administration has been deep in talks with health insurers to come up with a fair proposal to plug the $1.1 billion health care hole. The plan still needs Republican votes."

Damn that ACA and Medicaid expansion! Oh, and the poor!

Lastly, this incredible tidbit...

"But even as the governor and lawmakers debate how to spend a budget surplus, there's a looming financial hurdle: Unfunded pension and health care liabilities of $220 billion for future retirees who work for the state and the University of California system."

HOLY SH!T Batman! Article goes on to point out that Brown is wanting workers to pay more into the system. Hmmm... Didn't Haley propose that here a while back?

So, here in MS we are making the hard choices now rather then later. The same type of actions made in your Democrat state example. I'm glad Cali is on the upswing, but I'm not so sure I would brag about a surplus when you have BILLIONS of unfunded liabilities promisedto the people and a growing class of citizens who contribute nothing to the bottom line.

Oh and the hypocrites in the legislature there just voted to exempt themselves from the gun control laws they impose upon the little people.

Anonymous said...

10:25--you don't take into account that Mississippi is the most dependent upon government welfare to stay afloat..

tuition at cal-berkeley-13518
tuition at ole miss-7644 (16 hrs)

hmmm..why does California expect its citizens to pay that much tuition? and it's a widely known fact that if you score a 24 on the ACT, community college in Mississippi is FREE.

i somehow think we're the ones living in socialist paradise.

Anonymous said...

Love all these "lifelong" Republicans- wonder how many really voted for Repubs back in the 50's and 60's as they claim. Hell, I'll bet many of them didn't even vote for Repubs locally and statewide in the 80's. But I digress.

I too will claim being a lifelong Repub - and I'll take my own test as above. While I agree that some of Tate's methods of handling the LG position could use some refinement, I agree with the current result. Cutting agency budgets is not a bad thing. Need to do more of it. And cutting ridiculous taxes (inventory, franchise, etc.) is a good thing.

Crawford makes a good point that the proof is going to be how the legislative leaders (including Tate) handle this over the next year, and in 2018. Cuts should continue to be made to cover the revenue estimate shortfalls. But those cuts need to be made judiciously - start killing some of the programs, not just claim to be 'tightening the belt' for all agencies.

But for this 'lifelong Republican' - and more importantly, a lifelong fiscal conservative (not physical Republican, Phil) - keep cutting the spending and the growth of government. Spend wisely - cut specifically.

And to the idiot that opened this string of comments - you are an idiot with your comment about Reeves and PERS. The Treasurer is one of 11 board members and has little control over the investments. Nice try though - play again next year.

Anonymous said...

In 2012 Ms. got back $3.07 for every $1.00 they sent to the federal govt.
2013, 49% of Ms. revenue comes from the federal govt.
Still the people Ms. votes into office cannot balance a budget.
That is sad.

Anonymous said...

So, I can't tell what people are upset about. Are they upset because they took money out of the rainy day fund? If so, I get it. We should have made more cuts instead. It just sort of blows my mind that we (Republicans) talk about cutting the size of government. And when we cut taxes, government revenue doesn't come in as high as anticipated, and we make some expense cuts, everyone seems to freak out. I'm for further tax cuts and massive cuts in spending. As far as I am concerned, we can eliminate MDE, MDA, and about 12 other agencies. It seems to me that the only loser in this whole deal are the folks that favor expanding government.

Anonymous said...

It would help if our elected officials could count. Basic arithmetic would be too much to expect from them.

Anonymous said...

@239: what are the 12 agencies you'd like to eliminate?

Anonymous said...

not speaking for 2:39. I don't know but a couple of 'agencies' that I would eliminate. But there are several programs in many agencies that if I were 'king' would not exist. Some large; many small. And many more that would be restructured or merged.

Its a long list - especially when you start including boards and commissions.

Where would you like to start? Alphabetically or by size. Or even more fun, by the constitutencies that will rise up and scream the loudest when you start talking about 'their' programs?

Anonymous said...

An across the board reduction of 10% would trim the waste some. Some agencies could be reduced a lot more without doing any damage to the agencies, except for the bennies they seem to think they should receive just for filling a space.

Anonymous said...

@11:00. There has already been the 'across the board' cut - all agencies of at least 5% from the first shot by the Governor earlier this fiscal year. Then the next shot cut across the board again.

I agree that ATB cuts can work up to around 10% - most every agency can find that kind of waste and excess. Its the cuts afterward that should start cutting programs, not ATB.

There have been ATB cuts before that should have gotten at the waste. But as usually happens, when the economy got better and the income stream increased, a lot of the cuts got reinstated. Now is the time to right-size government and eliminate programs. The waste part has been trimmed. Now pull out the yellow pages and see what 'services' the government is supposedly providing that could be done by private business (i.e. Forestry Commission - a real need and good service in the 50's and 60's that now exists only because it does and always has.) AND, there is a constitutency that the legislators don't want to upset. But - every agency has a constitutency and legislators don't want to upset anybody.

Anonymous said...

I think Tate's tax cut is a failing attempt by him to buy his way into the Governor's mansion using taxpayer's own money.

Anonymous said...

8:35, have you ever heard of a politician using their own money for a single damn thing? I have heard of one and I am an old man.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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