This headline in the Brookhaven Daily Leader carried a front page story about the Mississippi Department of Transportation's Budget and state Representative Becky Currie’s comments on how to fix the lack of a state road and bridge program. A Special Legislative Session has been called in June to debate a MDOT budget because legislative leadership could not stop fighting among themselves and now we bear the additional associated cost, but that is just another beside the point lack of leadership.
To be fair, though, Currie was just setting out the Republican game plan to tax local folks and take from other programs to fund a road and bridge plan. She forgot to mention the super-majority Republican leadership is the main reason for failure of a budget and road or bridge program.
Carrying the Republican leadership team’s plan, Currie says that Speaker Philip Gunn has a seven-point plan to fix roads and bridges that includes:
- having local counties raise their gas taxes up to 11 cents per gallon, which Mrs. Currie says is her favorite idea because “if they vote it down they can’t complain about their roads.” (Let Them Eat Cake somehow comes to mind)
We beg to differ, Rep. Currie. It is the Republican leadership that no longer sends our tax dollars back to our cities and counties for a road and bridge program. The locals have already paid in taxes for this program once. It is just that you and your Republican colleagues gave our tax money away to corporate campaign contributors in the form of grants and tax credits.
The Republican Party's municipal leadership has evidently not been working with their Jackson party leadership to repair roads and bridges either. They need to be held accountable for conditions in their cities by demanding their super majority party leadership put in place a road and bridge repair program that does not double and triple tax the citizens with take it or leave it games as Rep. Currie suggested by raising local gas taxes.
Local governments are now issuing bonds to fix local roads and bridges. When counties and cities do that, it is just another tax on the people to pay those bonds back for the same local programs they have already been taxed for.
- Take some of the monies that builds roads and bridges on the Coast and in the river region. Rep. Currie says, The Gaming Road Fund "has more money in it than needs to be.” We doubt the river and coast regions agree.
- Stop building roads. Hey, that’s a great economic game plan, Republican leadership! It’s also one of the reasons Mississippi is ranked 49th among states in which to do business.
- Remove state road workers from the Personnel Board oversight so they can be fired. The Republican leadership has already tried this by eliminating 10,000 state jobs with more on the chopping block. The salaries of fired transportation workers will not fill the budget hole this leadership team has gotten the state into and is no way to fulfill their promise of ‘shrinking government.'
Skewed Priorities…Failed Leadership