No wonder Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood didn’t want anything to do with an appeal of the federal injunction that prevented HB 1523 from becoming law. Both at home and abroad, critics seem incredulous that Gov. Phil Bryant’s attorneys have ignored precedents in their brief written in support of the bill.
I will not be surprised if Gov. Bryant brings up HB 1523 in his state of the state address in Jackson tonight. Yet I’ll be disappointed if he does–it would amount to nothing more than obfuscation. We have more important issues to discuss than opinions on a bill that a federal judge has already deemed unconstitutional.
The state’s coffers are not keeping up with the financial strains of providing for good schools, safe infrastructure, and decent health care. I am hoping our leaders will come to their senses, and that Gov. Bryant will announce new methods of funding those three priorities. I am hoping that he will not return to the old chestnuts of lowering taxes to raise revenue, or consolidating state agencies to make them more efficient. In the former case, that the math on that has not worked well. Our state has had to dip into the rainy days funds thrice this year because revenues have fallen short of expectations. In the latter case, making agencies more efficient offers very little short-term help–and we need better schools, better roads, and better health care now.
Mississippi is a good place. It would be a great place if we could get the heck out of our own way.