All you can say is just WOW!
Today, Moody's Investor Services downgraded Mississippi's credit outlook to a negative forecast. This is important because every holder of Mississippi bonds lost money on this news. Investors that lend the state money use this information to determine interest rates at which we can borrow. Those will now increase while costing taxpayers more money from the general fund.
In response, the governor said, "Government spending must be curtailed and our reserves grown. In the last four years, Mississippi's budget has increased 24 percent... That cannot continue.” Well, Mr. Bryant, haven't you been governor those last four years, dipped into the rainy day fund several times, and supported your party's legislative leadership team in the House and Senate that has developed and passed every appropriation and borrowing bill? Haven't you personally approved all of this by signing these bills? Thanks for taking responsibility and exposing those responsible for our current budget mess.
The United States Department of Justice sued Mississippi on Thursday over violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. The suit says there is a failure to provide community services to those with mental illness and that persons become unnecessarily institutionalized in a state facility.
Mississippi had five years to negotiate and settle this case before a suit was filed. The state leadership didn't do it. It' s not surprising, though, when the governor said, "This appears to be yet another attempt by the federal government to dictate policy to the states through the courts."
The sad outcome is that mentally ill Mississippians continue to go without services, and Mississippi will now spend taxpayer money to pay lawyers defending the position of not providing critical mental health care services to our citizens. During this last budget cycle, the state mental health budget was cut $8 million dollars by legislative leadership despite the pleas from mental health professionals warning of the likely legal consequences.
Mississippians want solutions. Mississippians believe in taking care of our most vulnerable citizens. Mississippians are tired of wasting their tax dollars and still seeing local budgets to hometown services slashed because political leaders gave away their money to large corporations. They are tired of this self-inflicted budget mess.
Mississippi Democrats stand ready and willing to work in a logical and reasonable approach with Republicans to solve these issues.