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Shazam! Gov. Gomer's doing business again

By Staff
Aug. 8, 2001
Lock up every house in Mayberry, Aunt Bea. Gov. Gomer's at it again. The mind reels at D. Ronald Musgrove's latest act of political and governmental genius.
Weeks after calling a special session to nail down a six-year phased, $338 million teacher pay raise a pay raise for which there exists no identifiable funding source our state's fearless leader now pens a letter of recommendation on official state letterhead designed to help two of his political cronies launch a business created to help clients reduce their state tax bills. Brilliant …
Great job, Gomer. First, you run up a one-third billion dollar teacher pay bill for which you have no plan how to pay and then you help two former State Tax Commission employees set up a business designed solely to help businesses pay less taxes further reducing the state's ability to prop up a state budget strained by those raises.
Gooollleee! Shazam! What a concept! Spend a whole bunch of the taxpayers' money and then promote a business designed to help the wealthier taxpayers consult with a couple of your ex-Tax Commission buddies to find ways to avoid paying state taxes.
Well, gooollleee …
Seems Mississippi's chief executive officer fancies himself a walking infomercial for the Grenada-based Mississippi Tax Recovery Service. Wants to help his buddies get a good start wooing the casinos and other potential clients in the business community who want to pay the least state tax possible.
Nothing wrong with business folk employing auditors and consultants to help them reduce their taxes. Nothing wrong with retired Tax Commission personnel who know the ropes offering such a service. But there is something wrong with the governor of the State of Mississippi reducing the dignity of the office to that of a street barker in the French Quarter inviting passersby to come inside to watch the tassels whirl.
What's next? The Governor's Guide to Fine Dining? Ronnie's Football Picks of The Week? An album of pop tunes: Viva, Gomer!(CDs $17.50, cassette tapes $12.95…)
The whole notion of the governor using the dignity of the state's highest office to pimp new business for his cronies sort of gives new meaning to the all-too-familiar cable television marketing company called "Ronco" "it slices, it dices, it juliennes, it will wax your car, hide your bald spot and slice meat so thin your relatives will NEVER come back!"
It's me, it's Ernest T. Bass
Ronnie Musgrove's a smart fellow far too smart to be wiping political doggie doo off his shoes from this sort of bush league political mistake. But of late, it's as if he's suffering from a form of political schizophrenia.
There's Ronnie Musgrove policy wonk, arm-twister, salesman, tireless campaigner, bright mind who understands how Mississippi takes in and spends money perhaps better than any governor since William Winter.
Then there's Gomer the shell-shocked, erratic political rube who can't seem to ever let the left hand know what the right hand is doing.
Where's Sgt. Carter when we need him? "Your OTHER left, Pyle!!!"
Musgrove's "Summer of Gomer" is having a terrible effect on me in a professional sense. As I watch him morph into Gomer, I feel a change come over me. I begin looking for rocks and feel an unexplained hankering to go visit the Darlings.
When I pass the Mansion, I get this almost uncontrollable urge to take one of those rocks and heave it through the window. Salter isn't calling Musgrove "Gomer." It's me, it's me, it's Ernest T.
Sid Salter is Perspective Editor/Columnist at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson and a syndicated Mississippi political columnist. Call him at (601) 961-7084, write P.O. Box 40, Jackson, MS 39206, or e-mail ssalter@jackson.gannett.com.

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