Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cecil Brown says "budget is a mess".

Public Service Commissioner Cecil Brown submitted this column to JJ. 

The Mississippi state budget is a mess. For the state budget year that began on July 1, the legislature authorized spending millions more dollars than the state can expect to collect. The leadership admits that nearly $57 million of the projected 2017 revenue does not exist. In addition, Attorney General Jim Hood has said that some $70 million more of their estimated revenue will not be available as a matter of law. And, if current revenue shortfalls continue, the budget hole will be deeper by many millions more.

If that’s not enough, tens of millions of federal dollars will be lost because of changes the legislature made to the budget system. Those legislators who wrote the budget are well aware of the problem. They were repeatedly warned by state agency heads and budget experts, but to no avail.

The leadership has shrugged off the mess and decided that any budget problems can be fixed without hurting the public during the next legislative session in January. They are wrong.

Mississippi law requires a balanced budget. The budget the legislature passed is not balanced. There will have to be cuts, additional revenue or the use of reserve funds to fill the hole they created. And the sooner the problem is fixed, the better. The governor should immediately convene the revenue estimating group to prepare a new realistic revenue estimate. He should then call a special session to prepare a balanced budget – a session that allows input from the experts and all the members of the legislature. The good folks who actually run state government, the agency heads, need to know how much money they actually have to work with, not some fictitious amount that has no basis in reality. They cannot wait until the next regular legislative session in January to find out.

Adding to the problem of the current budget is the $400 million tax cut the legislature recently passed. The new cuts will put additional pressure on the future budgets. Most of the cuts will go to big corporations, many of them from out of state. Tax cuts for corporations are not necessary. Already, in recent years 75% of the largest corporations in Mississippi have paid no state income tax.

Some legislative leaders have said that those who complain about cuts are just whiners and liberals. These leaders argue that cutting budgets is a good way to “shrink the size of government.” If that is their intent, the public is entitled to know what size government we can expect. What state services will be eliminated? Which employees will lose their jobs? Who will win and who will lose?

Many state leaders pride themselves on being fiscally conservative. By that they apparently mean cutting taxes and reducing spending regardless of the consequences. By being elected they earned the right to do that. But by their recent actions they have also earned total ownership of the state budget. When schools, hospitals and emergency services are underfunded, they did it. When local property taxes go up because state funds are cut, they did it. When college students lose their scholarships because funds were cut, they did it. When highways and bridges fall into disrepair for lack of funds, they did it. When valuable state employees lose their jobs because of budget cuts, they did it.

The Mississippi state budget is a mess. In crafting the budget a few people in leadership positions decided they knew more about state finances than the experts. Let’s hope they are right. If they are wrong, it will be the unelected, hard-working, honest people of Mississippi who will suffer the consequences long after the current leaders have left office.


Anonymous said...

......"the good folks who actually run state government...."
Uuuuhhhhh, what good folks? I would say those are few and far between.
Big C dog, exactly who are you referring to?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Do you think if the people running our state govt. knew what they were doing they would be working for the state? They do not have to know anything about their job. The only thing they have to do is get enough friends together to get them elected. For some reason people think elected officials get their job because they know how to do their job. After all of these years people should know better.
I keep forgetting this is Ms. and we are not that smart but it doesn't take a genius to see what a mess politicians can make of something simple.

Anonymous said...

Consolidating down to 20 school districts statewide would solve this problem fairly handily I imagine.

Anonymous said...

Excellent points indeed! This should not be a partisan issue. It is a common sense issue.

Anonymous said...

We all know that Jackson is in horrible shape and now we hear the state is in bad shape financially. Who is going to bail out the state? We have a Governor that appears not to be the brightest star and we know our legislators are second class citizens or they would not be there. What we have is a bunch of dumb asses running our state and their most important task is to get to wine, women and song. I do not feel sorry for Mississippi because we keep electing people who have no clue !!!!!

Robin Costa is HOT!!! said...

Funny but I don't recall any complaints from Cecil when Musgrove and his fellow Democrats left the State with a $700m budget shortfall.

Anonymous said...

Your fiscally responsible GOP-majority state gubmint at work. /sarcasm

Anonymous said...

2:36, there were plenty of people complaining. You just had your head in a place that blocked out the voices.
There isn't any difference in a democrat and a republican. Both are politicians. Neither know what they are doing and care less. Some people actually think there is a difference.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me like Cecil's career goal isn't the PSC.

Anonymous said...

Cecil is certainly able to recognize budget games. When he was COS to Mabus, they put forth an unbalanced budget every year. And during his terms in the legislature, they never passed a balanced budget but depended on defecit appropriations every year.

Sounds more like a Democrat press release - blaming any budget problems in 2016 on tax cuts that take effect in 2018. And of course ignoring that those tax cuts are aimed at the lowest end of our state income taxes, along with eliminating the most onerous tax our state has kept for all these years, the francise tax.

Way to hang in there with your buddies, Cecil.

Anonymous said...

I can appreciate Cecil's concern over the budget - but it also appears to me that the only way that government will evaluate how effectively they spend tax dollars is to simply cut the funds off, which is happening. It is just too easy for legislators to spend "other peoples money" Cecil mentioned college scholarships - here are all of the goody programs that have been established over the years, in addition to the community college & other basic programs -
Forgivable loan and loan repayment programs: Graduate Teacher, Counselor and School Administrator (GTS/CSA), Health Care Professions (HCP), Mississippi Teacher Loan Repayment (MTLR), Nursing Teacher Stipend (NTSP), and Veterinary Medicine for Minorities (VMMP),Critical Needs Teacher (CNAR/CNTP); Teacher Education Scholars (TES); William Winter Teacher (WWAR/WWTS); Critical Needs Dyslexia Therapy (CNDT); Speech-Language Pathologist (SLPL); Family Protection Specialist Social Worker (SWOR); SREB Doctoral Scholars (SDSP); Nursing Education – BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, RN to MSN, & Ph.D./DNP (NELB, NELR, NELM, NERM & NELP), State Dental Education (DENT), State Medical Education (MED), and Graduate and Professional Degree Programs (STSC).

While all of these programs may be worthwhile, the seem to grow like kudzu,and they probably all need to be reevaluated or allowed to sunset. And perhaps local property taxes will increase because of state cuts - but you at least have a chance to make local officials respond to spending issues - state govt, forget it.

Anonymous said...

2:36, there were plenty of people complaining.

Show us when and where Cecil Brown complained. You can't because he didn't.

Anonymous said...

Obvious that the Fat Bobby Donkeycrats have decided upon a strategy to pummel Mississippi with windy press release's between now and the next election.

A Fungus Amongus said...

I thought Cecil The Frown Brown had a new job - Public Service Commissioner. His triumvirate can NOT figure out how to stop unwanted calls yet this is the hallmark of his agency.

This guy will retire at a PERS benefit the size of that of a Saudi sheikh.

Anonymous said...

"THE SKY IS FALLING", scream the CHICKEN-CRATS!!!! If they were still in control we would be in serious trouble. Fact is the state of Mississippi is not broke. We have money compared to many states who really are broke. We don't have a lot but are not in the red thanks to the GOP taking over the House and Senate. The RETARDCRATS shout this nonsense because most people don't know anything and believe anything they read.

Anonymous said...

@5:48 you mean like Moody's "warning shot" credit downgrade?

Anonymous said...

BS!! I remember when the Dems were in control of the legislature a few yeas ago and we had a deficite of OVER $200mm in one department alone. (Medicaid). Their comment was, "don't worry about it. We will take care of it in January during the next legislative session". Hypocrites!!

Anonymous said...

Gallo will get to the bottom of this. Cecil in the green-room soon.

Anonymous said...

Hey @4:16. Remember when you point your finger there are three fingers pointed right back at you.

Anonymous said...

When people are on this thread using terms like - "Donkeycrats", "CHICKEN-CRATS", "RETARDCRATS", goes to show how this state is always in disarray and how wasteful legislation gets passed year after year. Mississippi will constantly spin its wheels in the mud, until the electorate starts taking the issues in this state seriously!?

This is not a game, this is not a joke. People come on JJ and repeat the same term over and over again, "There's nothing different between a Republican and a Democrat" - that's a passive aggressive stance.

There are differences - clearly in Mississippi. Especially between the two base groups that support both parties. The only similarity - both base groups are poor as hell and don't have a clue of whats going on and what they can do to change their future for the better. If they did, one group would make a legit effort to get out and vote, the other would start holding the ones they got elected more accountable.

Grow up and start talking like an adult. If you feel the need to name call, then recuse yourself from the adult table and go over to kiddy table where we can turn on some wrestling for you and get you a sippy cup with some good ol' wild turkey!

Anonymous said...

2:17 hit the nail on the head. Most people who run for office do so because they aren't qualified to do anything else. Do people think Obama could really work somewhere where he would actually be required to work, produce, manage, or lead? I remember several years back going in front of the Madison County Board of Supervisors and 4 of the 5 had declared bankruptcy before. And they were going to run the County's huge budget. For the most part, politicians have no clue how to really get stuff done. They violate every solid business principal. They are the master of holding a $1000 meeting to solve a $100 problem. I run a company. I just fired a guy because he was a damn politician at heart. He came in in his dress pants every day, walked around with a coffee mug asking what others were doing. He never did his own job but just passed his work down to others. He thought he was working and managing. In reality, he was doing nothing but walking around trying to act like he was doing something. He wasn't working. And the people he was supposed to be managing were actually managing him. He should go into government.

Republicrat Donkeycan said...

Grow up and start talking like an adult.

Yup, that's gonna git er done. ROFLMAO

Anonymous said...

Math is math. The numbers don't lie, but people can lie to those who don't do math.
IF you are going to reduce your cost of living and scale down, you do not make a percentage cut across the board and eliminate income first. That would be stupid.
You cut expenses that are unnecessary and reduce expenses where possible. You trade in your SUV for a compact that uses less gas. You reduce your home expenses by getting a smaller place with less maintenance. You cut back your entertainment expenses, not your regular visits to the doctor.
And, only AFTER you have reduced your expenses and saved enough for emergencies, can you possibly contemplate reducing your income.
If you do cut costs and eliminate income first , what you get is an inefficient use of the money you have and an unworkable existence. You will end up with personal chaos and will probably be homeless.
If you want to streamline and reduce government and make it more efficient, this is not the way.
Why, have y'all not figured out that with every tax cut, your other taxes and costs have increased while your income has not increased proportionally unless your income is over $ 500000 and you can set up trusts and write off costs as business expenses?
Why have y'all not figured out that with every tax cut, the middle class in this country declines? Look at States that have decreased taxes and increased GDP and you will see that their median income per capita DECREASED.
Tax reform is needed. Electing those who actually can specify where and how to make budget cuts is needed. Meat packing plants aren't needed...each party has used our tax money as political spoils and told you they were making your life better and the " true believers" keep falling for it!

Anonymous said...

"When people are on this thread using terms like - "Donkeycrats", "CHICKEN-CRATS", "RETARDCRATS"...."

I have never seen any single one of those terms used on this blog and would challenge the poster to show that he has.

Anonymous said...

People complain Jackson is in bad shape and the state should take over. Take a good look at our state. Have you missed the part about Ms. being on the bottom of every list there is?
Now people are saying let the U.S. take over the state of Ms. Again, take a good look at our country.
We are bankrupt. We cannot even pay the interest on the money we have already borrowed. We are still going to borrow more. Our politicians need the extra money. Both democrats and republicans need more money.

Has anyone ever thought of spending only what we have and stop borrowing. We have been reduced to a nation full of adults that steal from their kids. Actually that was a while back. Now we are a nation of grown people who are stealing from our grand kids.
What do we have to show for it?

Anonymous said...

@ 7:19am

"Do people think Obama could really work somewhere where he would actually be required to work, produce, manage, or lead?"

Let's see - he actually taught Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago. He was in the Illinois Legislature for 12 years prior to being elected to the US Senate.

Some people are academics, that doesn't mean they are unable to wield a hammer. But typically, a black person is only "contributing" to society if they are doing manual labor!?

Anonymous said...

@ 8:05am

"THE SKY IS FALLING", scream the CHICKEN-CRATS!!!! If they were still in control we would be in serious trouble. Fact is the state of Mississippi is not broke. We have money compared to many states who really are broke. We don't have a lot but are not in the red thanks to the GOP taking over the House and Senate. The RETARDCRATS shout this nonsense because most people don't know anything and believe anything they read.

July 13, 2016 at 5:48 PM

I guess you still don't see it?

Anonymous said...

@ 9:51

Let's see. He taught in college. College academia is not exactly a hot-bed of hard work and accountability. They have tenure at most colleges. Tenure keeps older professors from having to get up every morning and go to work and compete and improve every day. Once they get tenure, it's hard to hold them accountable. Tenure goes against everything I believe in. Just because you are 65 and have been at a company for 40 years does not give you a right to coast. I believe in getting up every day and earning my paycheck. Get up and compete dammit!

Then the Illinois legislature. That's government.

I'm talking about a place where every day you are expected to compete and perform. Most politicians couldn't do it. I put Obama in that category.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:49am

That's the most assinine thing I ever heard - "I'm talking about a place where every day you are expected to compete and perform."

The man was elected to run the freakin' United States - how the hell is that not competing?

Let's see your ass get up and run for President!? I'll do you one better - just run for your local city council and see how that goes - since its all so "simple"


Anonymous said...

Just getting elected for president does not make you a hard worker, honest, or even an American. Doesn't matter if you are a criminal. The only thing that matter is if you can get enough people to vote for you. Our current president has an easy, his color. He automatically had ever black vote in the U.S.
Look at what we have running for president today. One business man who made it on his own and one criminal who never had an honest job.
The bar hasn't been set that high.

Anonymous said...


I will happily explain. If the president gets up and works hard all day, he is still the president the next day. But if he says screw it and watches TV all day, he also is still the president the next day. Bottom line is once elected, you are granted 4 years of job stability regardless of how hard you work. He can't be fired because he gets lazy.

Anonymous said...

"I remember several years back going in front of the Madison County Board of Supervisors and 4 of the 5 had declared bankruptcy before."

Calling bullshit on that claim. State the date please.

Anonymous said...

@ July 14, 2016 at 1:54 PM and July 14, 2016 at 1:39 PM

1) "Just getting elected for president does not make you a hard worker, honest, or even an American. Our current president has an easy, his color. He automatically had ever black vote in the U.S."
- Not much of a bigot now are we? SMH! Anyway - that's the most cynical piece of garbage I've ever read!? Black people only account for 13% of the population and less of that is even eligible to vote. Add on top of that, there were still 10% of black voters that voted for McCain and Romney in the previous elections. So stop with that cop out. He still had to face an opponent to get elected and they could have won just as well as him.

2) "He can't be fired because he gets lazy." - technically he can, because there are many avenues to eliminate a seating office holder if they are no performing their duties while in office - the thing about that is - not enough Americans are up on civics and what powers they have to remove current office holders.

Stop with the hyper cynical whining - I'd have more respect for many of you if you'd break down and admit you hate seeing a black fella in that office.

Anonymous said...

3:04, where have you been hiding for the last 8 years? Take a look at elections. Very few people win by 13% or more. When a person is guaranteed 13% of the voted just because of the color of his skin there isn't much chance of him loosing. Look at his opponents. One had to pick a dumb woman to loose the election. Another had to insult 50% of the population to loose. The republicans wanted to loose.

If you will remember we, the people, tried to get rid of a president a while back. Even though he was caught lying under oath he got to keep his job.

Anonymous said...

4:16 loosed the spelling bee

Anonymous said...

@ 4:16pm

"When a person is guaranteed 13% of the voted just because of the color of his skin there isn't much chance of him loosing"

Dude - if black people account for 13% of the population - that's right about 52 million people if the American population is at 400 million.

Of that - how many kids (under 18 years of age and not eligible to vote) would you account for that population? Let's be conservative and say 20% - so that's 10.4 million will subtract from the group - so we are now down to 41.6 million black Americans eligible to vote. But we forgot about felons - so lets be conservative and say 5% of black Americans are convicted felons and cannot vote - that's another 2 million will subtract from black eligible voters - so we are now down to 39 million eligible black voters. Oh yeah - let's go ahead and give the Republicans the 10% who are cut from the cloth loyal to the Republican party - that's 3 million gone to the Republicans. With 36 million eligible voters remaining. For your theory to be true, 100% of the remaining eligible black voters would have to show up to to the polls and that is HIGHLY improbable.

In 2008 Barack Obama received 69,498,516 popular votes, while John McCain received 59,948,323 popular votes.

In 2012 Barack Obama received 65,915,796 popular votes, while Mitt Romney received 60,933,500 popular votes.

To assume Barack Obama only won because of the black vote, is super cynical. He received a huge benefit from it - but he didn't win solely because of it.

Here's another kicker for you - as long as the Southern Dixie-crats that have hijacked the Republican Party continue with the fiscal policies and social rhetoric they pumped back in the days of Ross Barnett, Strum Thurmond, George Wallace, and now Phil Bryant and "Tater" Reeves - the blacks with good common sense will stay far away and vote with the "D" faithfully! Win, lose or draw!

Until the Republican party starts giving a damn about blue collar workers of ALL races! Stop with the lame social agendas - that's when you will start seeing blacks consider running for office as Republicans and voting Republican.

Anonymous said...

Sock Puppet City.

Anonymous said...

6:59, did you notice many black republicans came out of the closet after Obama was elected. Take Colin Powell for an example. He was a republican, served as a republican. Voted democrat for Obama.
What makes you thing that 10% of blacks voted for a white person just because they were republicans?

Anonymous said...

Cecil should know a mess when he sees one.

Anonymous said...

Cecil, if budgets messes were baseball you'd be Babe Ruth. Shut up and go away already.

Anonymous said...

@9:22. Being right less than 1/3 of the time when making major decisions about governing is the kind of record that only a good Obama type Democrat would think is success. Cecil is now a PSC - he needs to shut up spouting the MS Democrat Party lines and try to do the job he was elected to do.

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