Tax hike talk disturbing
April 18, 2001
State Rep. Greg Snowden, R-Meridian, fired a warning shot across the bow of the ship of state the other day. Couched in no uncertain terms, Snowden said he would not vote for a tax increase even if it meant there would be no money for the second year of the teacher pay raise.
His position will undoubtedly be politically unpopular in some quarters, popular in others, but it is the right position to take. The Meridian Star hopes other members of the local legislative delegation feel the same and will oppose any effort in the 2002 legislative session to raise state taxes.
Do Mississippi's public school teachers deserve a pay raise? Yes, and they got one this year. The generous plan proposed by the governor and endorsed by the Legislature is a five-year plan. The second year will cost an additional $65 million.
Do college professors and other state employees deserve a pay raise? Is state government functioning at maximum efficiency? Are the needs of citizens being met in terms of service delivery by all executive agencies and departments of state government?
Community colleges and four-year institutions took the greatest hit in the fiscal year 2002 budget. Already, tuition at community colleges is going up, as much as 20 percent in the case of East Central Community College, as administrators try to recoup some of the lost funding. Mississippi's innovative community college system provides so many desirable services for so many students of so wide a variety that their future cannot be mortgaged for the purpose of short-term political gain.
Everyone hopes the state's economy will improve and that revenue will increase before lawmakers get down to the real business of the 2003 budget later this year. But hopes and dreams do not reality make.
Gov. Musgrove may find himself in the position of making more cuts in executive agencies. As this state's chief executive officer, that's his obligation.