Sunday, July 14, 2019

Bill Crawford: Course Changes Needed?

Happy with the way things are going in Mississippi and want to stay the course? Then Tate Reeves is probably your choice for Governor. Stay the course is pretty much his campaign message.


Not so happy with the way things are going? Well, if you want a conservative Republican to guide course changes, then Bill Waller or Robert Foster should be your choice. Each would take a somewhat different approach to those changes, Waller guided by his longtime Supreme Court and National Guard background and Foster by his agribusiness and recent legislative background.

If you're fed up with Republican control, then a Democrat, most likely Attorney General Jim Hood, will be your option.

Of course, governors are not the only political leaders who can cause course changes. We know from Reeves' domination of the Mississippi Senate that the Lieutenant Governor has a lot of sway. Gilbert, Philbert, Dilbert, Albert, Delbert (take your choice) Hosemann is the odds on favorite to succeed Reeves. Both he and Democratic nominee Jay Hughes will attempt to take the state in directions not tolerated by Reeves, with Hosemann taking the more conservative path.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives also has sway. Likely to be re-elected in January, current Republican Speaker Philip Gunn has shown he is willing to take alternate paths to those Reeves took.

Another position with sway is that of Attorney General. There will be course changes coming here. The Mike Moore/Jim Hood era is coming to an end. Odds are that in heavily Republican Mississippi one of the GOP candidates will easily win the position over Democratic nominee Jennifer Riley Collins. Longtime GOP leader Andy Taggart, State Treasurer Lynn Fitch, and State Rep. Mark Baker are no peas in a pod either, with each likely to chart different paths from the others.

As I wrote in an earlier column, where you live matters and will likely impact your perspective of how Mississippi is doing and whether the state needs course changes. Even then, it's easy to be confused.

Consider these conflicting facts.

Mississippi has more people working than ever before and our unemployment rate is the lowest ever. Yet, we have the lowest average weekly wages in the nation and our 18 to 24 population is shrinking as our elderly population surges.

Mississippi over the past seven years created 35,000 new jobs and attracted more than $7 billion of private investment. Yet economic distress is on the rise in three-fourths of our counties and many hospitals, key economic engines, are at risk of closing.

National publications rate Mississippi high as a business friendly state. But national rankings consistently rate us at or near the bottom in health status, educational achievement, and per capita income.

High school graduation rates and some NAEP scores are up. But, teacher shortages have reached crisis stage.

State revenues are up and the rainy day fund is full. Yet many programs are underfunded and total indebtedness, which includes the PERS unfunded liability, is at a record high and growing.

How these things are playing in your backyard will determine Mississippi's direction over the next four years.

More of the same, something a little different, or something a lot different, those are your choices, some of which you are going to get anyway.

Crawford is a syndicate columnist from Meridian.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dead last in everything except corruption.

This state is in need of federal intervention and dismantling.

Looking Two Levels Deeper.. said...

Good article. It's uncommon for Crawford to make sense, but he did this time.

Speaking of ranking at or near the bottom in multiple areas...I get tired of this. Rankings, naturally, are dependent on averages. And averages, necessarily include all the lows. And the lows, as always, plot us high on the obesity scale, which largely determines our health care rank, in one way or another. The reason I'm 'tired of it' is that the same demographic always forces us into the lower 10 percent nationally. Connect the dots.

Moving on to education. Never mind that many of our schools, private as well as public, are achieving well and are torch bearers. Again, rankings are determined by averaging and averaging education metrics entertains the same demographic influence. Connect the dots. Whether we're talking about 'scholars' in the chairs or administrators in the offices, the demographic reality once again pushes us lower than median and into the lowest 5% nationally.

Ignoring this reality will accomplish nothing. Denial is not a good thing.

Obesity, Healthcare, Education, Crime...all of them are affected first and foremost by the realities of demographics. But, of course it's racist to point out this reality.

But, I reckon Crawford is right....depends on where live.

Anonymous said...

This is probably the last time you folks will get to elect a governor. Within the next 8 years you will become the "New Minority".

Anonymous said...

Pray tell us 10:01 who you think the " New Minority" will be?

Your fears are justified to some extent, because history tells us that whenever a new group becomes powerful, they will be worse initially than those they replaced with few exceptions ( Mandela was benevolent but his successors , not so much). They will retain all the power their " enemies" awarded themselves and seize more rather than eliminate all the rules and laws they had decried. In short, they will more likely than not be vengeful.

When will we ever learn that giving one party or person too much power and control never ends well? There are no easy solutions or quick fixes or Saviors.

Anonymous said...

it does not make a tinker's dame WHO is our next governor--we r so HOPELESSY behind the * ball we will NEVER catch up!!

Anonymous said...

In the early 1970s the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning oversaw the Mississippi research and development cente, which built the tower off Ridgewood and Lakeland drive. A group from georgia came in with the goal of Mississippi moving the state's per capita income to the national average by the year 2000. Consultants from M.I.T., Harvard, etc., came and plotted and planned. During one especially long rant from a Dr. Meuller from M.I.T., one researcher interrupted and said: "Dr. Meuller, the only way we're going to achieve this goal is to take everyone below the povery line and hand them a wad of cash and a one-way bus ticket out of the state if they will promise to never come back across the state line." And that was the most logical proposal that came out of that Ivory Tower. And since Governor Hugh White politicans have touted "more and beter jobs," while giving our tax dollars to industries that barely pay minimum wage. And this year's crop of office seekers isn't any different. Mississippi has never valued education and the "separate, but equal fantasy" during the segregation era only compounded the problem. we are mired in the legacy. 11:44 is right. There is no way that Mississippi can catch up with teh cards we are playing.

Anonymous said...

Recently a media outlet stated the largest corporations in each state and guess what? We ranked last with Sanderson Farms valued at 3.2 billion in income. Some of the smaller states had twice to 3 times the amount in incomes reported for their largest industry. I guess that agricultural state of mind is working, huh? Tate is Haley’s boy. Until we get our educational system revamped, start vocational training as early as high school freshman and try to train a viable workforce, then we will be last forever. It’s hard for a small business to outlay the amount of money it takes to train employees when they have absolutely no education to reflect on what the investment we spent to teach them from 1st through 1st through 12th grades. This is deplorable and our state is not even trying. It costs a business owner anywhere from 65k to 230k to train someone over a 5 year period for them to be fully trained and productive. They come out looking for a job in athletic shorts and tennis shoes. Anyone who argues hasn’t put pen to paper. Some of these young people can’t even spell correctly or they write sentences at 3rd grade level. Good Lord, DO NOT ask them to measure something. You will have some unintelligible unrealistic non understandable (if that’s a word) junk come spewing out of their traps, But what the hell...we still got our athletic mills churning those kids out and coaches lying to them telling them they don’t have to have any education just run run run until that other boy don’t catch ya! We sure as hell failed our kids, grandkids and great grandchildren. You can’t fix this overnight and with the left making everything a racial issue you will never change it for the better. So Jackson was named after Andrew Jackson but in a few years you can say it was named after Jesse Jackson and the people will actually believe it...... excuse me while my wife puts my dreads in my hair so I will fit in.

Anonymous said...

Could the pendulum be swinging away from the Phil/Tate way of doing things?

Yes, Mississippi has a lot of problems, but Tate comes across as the arrogant rich kid, who cares only about himself. That is what is most disheartening about Reeves.

Anonymous said...

1:50 - obviously you have never applied for a job at Nissan. Or Toyota. Or at the new Continental Tire. Or at many of the other industries that have moved into the state recently. Or Ingalls that has been here since the early days of the incentive programs.

Yes, back in the original days of the BAWI bonds, many of the industries that moved into the state were cut and sew factories paying minimum wage to employees that came in from the scrabbleback farms and got a job that put cash in their pockets and enabled them to buy food for the family. But most of the newer projects pay well above minimum wages, with some paying quite high to all employees.

Have some of them been a bust? Certainly. This is not a guaranteed game. Have all of your investments been as profitable as you anticipated? If so, please start a new blog and clue us in on your investment strategy.

In the meantime, take a gander at the jobs being offered at Continental, and the wages they are paying. Then come back and report to us your findings and correct your analysis above.

Anonymous said...

is it POSSIBLE that Tate is reviled by so many because he actually has principles and has said NO to so many of the BS ideas foisted upon him? just askin?

Anonymous said...

Listen to 10:01 cackle. While he is busy predicting a new minority, he might as well go ahead and enroll in a Spanish class himself.

Rod Knox said...

About all these high paying jobs at the new industries, how many of the jobs are on the payroll of the industry whose name is on the front door and now many will be contract labor who earn a dollar or two above minimum wage with no benefits of any kind?

Whenever I read a report re WalMart wages I wonder who is so slow minded that they don't recognize the scam. Bentonville wants the world to know how generous they are to their employees who earn $15 an hour but the fine print specifies FULL TIME employees and they are a minority of the work force. The majority of WalMart workers earn just above minimum wage with no benefits even after a decade on there.

And Mississippi's grandest dream is to eliminate the federal minimum wage here and "allow the market to determine wages." Wouldn't that be GRAND.

Anonymous said...

What is your solution Knox? All you do is complain. Put up how you would do things differently.

Anonymous said...

Waller wants to make significant improvements to MS, including roads/highways, and they need it. This requires money, and the most equitable/fair tax is at the pump.

The more you use the roads, the more you pay, and the renters also have to pay their share.

Anonymous said...

Tate would be a disaster. Waller is our best hope.

Anonymous said...

Why does our largest corporation, Sanderson Farms Poultry Co, still pay minimum wage to its workers? We will never get ahead with 10,000 workers making such low wages.

Anonymous said...

"Mississippi Values" is an offhand reference to the entrenched belief that maintaining the position of the small ruling class is everybody's duty rejecting any "progressive" ideas that might upset the status quo. The ruling class being insecure about out of state competition has no interest in changing this paradigm and the masses are mostly too stupid to know better, if they did know better they have already gone. Tater Reeves fits in nicely.

Anonymous said...

Will Mississippi never elect someone intelligent enough or attractive enough to be taken seriously on the national stage? Really, every other state has had a statewide candidate considered a rising star on the national Democrat or Republican scene. All we ever have is some hayseed who looks like one of the Hee-Haw comic characters. Think about it. Damn.

Anonymous said...

As long as Americans insist on cheap and inexpensive hammers from China and inexpensive chicken from Sanderson, wage growth will not increase. Who screams the loudest when Trump starts rounding up the illegal help? You bet, the Republican businessmen and woman like the Sandersons.

Anonymous said...

9:42 Probably because they never learned the song "Dem Bones".

Anonymous said...

Just ask Google,20 years or less whites will be in the minority. Look at Texas it's happening right before our eyes. Georgia isn't too far behind.Since most people don't want to live here it make take 30 years but it's coming.

Anonymous said...

Reeves is an arrogant wanna-be trust fund baby. His wife probably makes more than him as a financial advisor. However, we need a personable, hard worker, such as Justice/General Waller, who has so much experience as a lawyer and judge, and as a Brigadier General in the Army National Guard.

Reeves is none of the above.

Rod Knox said...

While I may vote for Waller his rank in the National Guard doesn't amount to much. Joining the NG 50 years ago was only for the fortunate ones made famous by CCR. And rank there seems similar to labor unions. Has Gen Waller ever been deployed beyond a cab ride from home?

Anonymous said...

Hard Knox, during BG Waller's watch no foreign powers have invaded Mississippi. Those illegals from south of the border don't count.

Rod Knox said...

About the complaining 6:32, my vote and opinions are as good as yours.

And BG Waller's career currently makes him a front runner for the Governor's mansion or whatever office he might seek 6:00, but some of us recognized the situation re the National Guard 50 years ago when the president was mailing out those letters to those of us who didn't burn our draft cards. But no doubt young Mr Waller worked hard to turn lemons into lemonade just as I did but he was much more successful than me and possibly worked harder than me but it's noteworthy that those who are born on 3d base often continue to pretend they hit a triple. Some of us can't help but recognize the real situation. I have outlived my resentment of the "Fortunate Sons" though, FWIW.

Anonymous said...

@9:42
The answer to that question is an unpopular one for most republicans and democrat lawmakers. The country club NE Jackson chamber of commerce loving elite allows too many legal and illegal immigration. This means endless supply of cheap unskilled labor workers so the supply demand is always in the companies favor so no wage increase in needed.

Anonymous said...

@ July 14, 2019 at 3:14 PM
The idea that Reeve tells people No is laughable. You don't raise the kind of money that he has raised telling your benefactors no. He sides with the business interests and people that fund him and tells their opponents no. But, he's not out making any principled stands for the state - it's for those people that fund him. Tate is a country club establishment republican.

He is Mr. Establishment and has spent the majority of his professional life in state government raising money for himself. Foster gets close to this point by pitching that Foster would not be the next guy in line. But, adjust that line of campaigning to saying Tate IS the establishment, and it could be very effective.

Tate is beholden to his supporters and certainly doesn't tell those folks no.

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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.

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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!!!

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