Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Sid Salter: 2019 Election Cycle Promises Significant Turnover & Change

Change. In terms of Mississippi government, change isn’t merely coming – and we’re talking major changes – it’s in great measure already here and identifiable.

 At the end of this year, Mississippi will at the very least have elected a new governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and state treasurer. We already have a state auditor and a state agriculture commissioner who are both still newly-minted by relatively recent gubernatorial appointments. The only veteran among our eight statewide elected officials who wants to return to his present post and remains unopposed is the state insurance commissioner.

The 2019 election cycle will see significant legislative turnover based Senate and House members either retiring or seeking other offices, including a number of key legislative leaders from the money committees in both houses. Just over 21 percent of the Senate will turn over in this manner. At least nine percent of the House will be similarly impacted based on current announcements of intent.

And that doesn’t count members in both houses unseated in the normal ebb and flow of politics.

In recent days, Mississippi got a new chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court and a new associate justice. Five members of the state’s highest court have only held their seats since 2016.

Two thirds of the Mississippi Transportation Commission isn’t seeking re-election and the same is true for the Mississippi Public Service Commission.

In Washington, one of our U.S. senators has assumed an important new chairmanship while another has less than a full year of service but has significant committee assignments. Both senators are in the Senate’s majority party.
In the House, one of our four members was through realignment in the midterm elections returned an important chairmanship. The other three House members suddenly find themselves in the House minority party – and one of them is a freshman.

Change, in a political environment in which there are marked partisan differences between both major parties at both the state and federals levels, is virtually inevitable. But even if the same party controls both houses of the Legislature under new leadership, change will still come in that arena.

I spoke to a statewide group of economic developers last week. Economic development is just one area that is almost certain to be impacted by change and turnover in the political realm. And since Mississippi’s economic development efforts are tied closely to the Governor’s Office, change is virtually guaranteed regardless who occupies that office and regardless which party he or she represents.

Why? Because there are many approaches to economic development. Some favor tax incentives. Others favor community building or workforce development. Some are pursuing mega site projects. Some are looking to bring 50-100 jobs to small towns that need anchor employment. Or all of the above.

An abstract from the Tax Policy Center’s 2017 review of State Economic Development Strategies by researchers Norton Francis and Megan Randall offered this assessment of the broad base from which most states approach economic development:

“States invest in three areas to encourage job and wage growth: the marketplace, the workforce, and the community. Marketplace investment includes general business support and finance assistance, small-business procurement programs, and tax incentives. Workforce programs develop and train the local labor force, connecting workers to family-sustaining jobs while meeting firm demands for skilled labor. Investment in community includes public goods such as transportation, electricity, telecommunications, and K–12 and higher education. Successful economic development strategies coordinate all three types of investment.”

From data contained in a 2014 statistical snapshot by the Urban Institute release in 2016, Mississippi was spending $21.5 million on economic development compared to Alabama’s $57.7 million, Arkansas’s $41.2 million, Louisiana’s $15.2 million and Tennessee’s $143.6 million. Would it surprise you to learn that in that same snapshot, 15 states were spending less than Mississippi on their economic development efforts?

It’s true.

Increasingly, legitimate and time-tested economic development strategies are coming under attack from those who decry jobs creation incentives or tax exemptions as improper government intervention in the effort to help Mississippi compete for economic opportunity. How much attention those voices attract in political campaigns – particularly in party primaries – may have much to do with shaping the future of economic development in the state.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, economic development in MS has been corrupt...from Magnolia Venture to the Meat Packing plant.

There's a difference in sound economic development planning and being a mark for every con man pretending to have a business and will grease palms to do it.

First we need a long range plan. And, our Dept. of Economic Development as well as our universities should be driving those plans and be scrutinizing the reliability of plans offered to the State.

Instead, Bubba is charmed or conned as he trusts his gut and is suspicious of experts who spend their lives studying what does and doesn't work.

And, we like to elect Bubba and only accidently elect someone who is smart enough to know what they don't know and find someone who does know.

Anonymous said...

A "Watch Tower" in Winona is just what is needed.That is sure to bring jobs or at least let people know if they are on time- or late for work. Just like like a small little quaint cute empty community center in Seminary. Joey Fillingane at his finest.

Anonymous said...

Would be nice to put the 2nd Amazon Headquarters in Oxford, MS. Since New York doesn't want it. I'll talk to Jeff Bezos Founder & CEO of Amazon to see if he'll warm up to the idea.

Billy said...

In the tune of "we didnt start the fire"..


Gray Swoope, Toilet Seats, ACE FUND, ECO ELITE, Shultz and Southern Airways, Emu Oil, Katrina waste, MDA, Magnolia Venture! what else do I have to say!!!

Rod Knox said...

Mississippians are always ready for the next big thing to come along so they can jump on the band wagon. Regrettably the worst possible big things seem to be the ones that are picked. Keeping the racist flag, refusing to consolidate school districts, spitefully disallowing Medicaid, etc. The common denominator in the situation is just too obvious to ignore so it is twisted to throwing blame on the victims when most everyone knows the truth. Last place is where we are and where we will likely remain as long as our young, intelligent, well educated children abandon the 'sharecropper/plantation' mentality ruling this state. They rush out as fast as a U-Haul can run soon after graduation and who can blame them.

Anonymous said...

9:58 is correct most economic developers in Miss. know nothing about real long term development brought about through good sound long rang planning.
The Old R&D center was the right direction but got zapped by the political folks.

Anonymous said...

Significant turnover does not equal significant change. Especially in Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

Louisiana spends the least and has the most economic development.

Anonymous said...

Crappy towns, crappy schools, crappy employees, etc. What company would want to locate in much of MS, and why would any Millennials want to stay here. Economic development can't make chicken salad out of chicken shit.

Anonymous said...

All this talk about economic development and jobs and what do y'all do? You order all your s*** on Amazon. What is it you expect to be opening here if you don't support what you have?

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, Madison County, about fifteen months ago, hired a new leader of the County Economic Development Authority. The last two did nothing to move the needle and so far it looks like this new one is replicating that lack of success.

So far he's made appearances in front of the Board of Supervisors, has spoken to three civic clubs in a year, has congratulated business locations and growth that his organization had nothing to do with and....he's grown a beard.

True economic development typically involves developing the economy. How obvious is that? Jobs, growth, new smokestacks, shovels in the ground, pouring concrete, taking job applications and expansions are, in combination, the bottom line - Not publishing congrats in the local papers and posing for photos. But the pay is decent and we've been duped once again.

Anonymous said...

Let's not overlook the fact that States that have a co-operative and co-ordinated statewide are the States that succeed.

Worse , if there is some local success, rather than support build and expand (oh say making it easier to get to Natchez and other measures to help turn it in to a larger tourist draw, or building on the Blues trail success, Mississippians deny the fact that one major success can snowball. There are plenty of examples of that in other States.

But it's easier to naysay and bitch rather than to learn and contribute.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile... This SOB makes $204,022 per year in Warren County...

Anonymous said...

8:28 a.m.: Please tell us how damned hard it is to get to Natchez and why it would matter if NOBODY could get there?

Anonymous said...

The people who want to come to Mississippi is people who retire since their taxes are low on pensions and social security.

Anonymous said...

5:48 - The proper subject-verb agreement is "People Are", not "People Is". And taxes on retirement and social security are NOT LOW in Mississippi. The tax is non existent.

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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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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.

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