Saturday, March 4, 2017

Bill Crawford: Is concentrated power a good thing?

Concentrated power in the Legislature waxes and wanes with the attitudes of rank and file members. At times, Speakers of the House and Lieutenant Governors have wielded dictator-like power. At other times, members have risen up and made the bodies operate more democratically.

Concentrated power is waxing once again as rank and file legislators cede power to their leaders.

The Mississippi Constitution intends for the House and Senate to be deliberative bodies wherein the elected members discuss and debate the diverse views of their constituents as they formulate policy and law, not fiefdoms ruled by powerful Lieutenant Governors and Speakers. Indeed, the Constitution awards no strong powers to either office except that the Lieutenant Governor shall be the convening "president of the Senate." The vast power amassed in these offices is yielded by rank and file members through their rules and through tradition.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves displayed his dictator-like power last week when he announced senators would not be allowed to consider House Bill 480. This is the bill to tax online sales. It was passed by the House and touted by Speaker Philip Gunn as a way to fund road and bridge improvements.

In his statement announcing the Senate "will not consider a proposal to tax Internet sales,” Reeves argued the bill may contravene a Supreme Court ruling. That point was argued in the House (and in Alabama where the law is working) but members, given the chance to decide for themselves, passed the bill. Using his power to enforce his personal position, Reeves denied senators the same opportunity.

Earlier in the session, Speaker Gunn played the same power game with regard to state lottery bills. As the Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender reported, “He’s against it, and he doesn’t even want the House to vote on it.”

When Judiciary A Chairman Mark Baker had the audacity to ignore Gunn's feelings and pass out a lottery bill, Gunn “barged into the committee meeting and had a private meeting with Baker,” Pender reported, adding it was not a cordial meeting.

The premature deaths of these revenue enhancing bills come as the deterioration of state finances has reached an ominous stage.

"The state's economist and treasurer's office last week gave lawmakers a dour report on the state's economy," reported the Clarion-Ledger on Feb. 21, "saying the state's growth and other economic indicators are lagging behind the nation, it has lost population and state sales tax collections — its largest source of income — was at (minus) -0.5% for fiscal 2017 through January.

That was the same day Governor Phil Bryant announced his fifth "emergency mid-year cut" and again dipped into the state's rainy day fund.

A week earlier, State Treasurer Lynn Fitch revealed Mississippi's bond debt jumped $1.3 billion to a total of $4.3 billion over 10 years, a 43% increase (not including the state guaranteed multi-billion dollar PERS shortfall).

Outsiders looking at Mississippi and seeing revenue shortfalls, burgeoning debt, deteriorating roads, and power plays that abort possible solutions are unlikely to be attracted to our fair state.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian (


Anonymous said...

Bravo, Mr. Crawford!
Some of us remember that once upon a time, honorable men like Carmicheal and Smith in our State and O'Neill and Dirkson in our Nation, could reason together as gentlemen for the best interests of all our citizens no matter.

And, we remember when citizens wouldn't vote for liars or sleaze mongers but actually thought for themselves and cared about the truth.

The years when most of our citizens saw combat and realized there were things more important than themselves and realized that a person's religion and race disappeared in a foxhole, may explain why our greatest progress was made in WWII.

" I have seen the enemy and he is us".

Anonymous said...

When did you see combat 10:27 and in which service branch?

Anonymous said...


What? Where's all the Feel Bryant and Triple Cheese Tater Thots at? A majority of you sorry som'tches elected these sorry bastards and we all have to pay the price for this b*llshit!

these bootleg austerity measures they promised were going to attract major companies to miss, are only going to affect our local taxes. Property taxes will go up, ad valorem taxes will go up.

Here's another kicker, they will redirect public school funds to private schools via the voucher system.

People do not get the depths of how much damage they (Mississippi GOP) have done, but once again - look no further than Louisiana and Kansas. They are in recovery mode after passing they same austerity measures in their own states.

"Mississippi's bond debt jumped $1.3 billion to a total of $4.3 billion over 10 years, a 43% increase (not including the state guaranteed multi-billion dollar PERS shortfall)."

So not only have the credit card bills have gone up, they still didn't do any of the necessary repairs to the house (Mississippi)

Anonymous said...

I don't think Mr. Cole saw combat. And if he were in the military today, he'd soon 'go missing', as they say, due to his petty nonsense and awkward chattering.

2016 Hottest Reporter Poll

Suscribe to latest on JJ.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel

Who is the hottest reporter?


Who is the Hottest Reporter in Jackson?

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.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

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.

Note: Security provided by INS