Friday, March 27, 2015

SOURCE: DAN JONES TO GET 2-YEAR EXTENSION AT 2 PM IHL MEETING

There will be no apology from Jobes, as had been reportedly demanded by IHL.

This would bring a temporary end to one of the uglier chapters in recent Mississippi higher education history.

More as time allows....

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Conservative Republicans Suffer First Loss of 2015

We reported two weeks ago that Haley Barbour and his clients are determined to preserve their Republican majority on the Public Service Commission. Our prediction turned out to be correct as the first Republican to enter the Central District Public Service Commission primary is the first to drop out.

Jackson attorney Mitch Tyner fell to the pressure from the Haley Barbour political machine by announcing he is withdrawing his candidacy for the Public Service Commission while calling for "party unity." This strategy seems to run counter to what happened last year when conservatives, sick of the doctrine which Tyner has now adopted, challenged Thad Cochran for his senate seat. Additionally, party unity is what typically occurs after a party primary - not before.

Food for thought: Tyner notes that he and Haley Barbour had a discussion. If they weren't discussing the Public Service Commission race, what else would they talk about? Haley doesn't strike me as the type to pick up the phone and chit-chat with the attorney for the guy who almost defeated his friend who happens to be a United States Senator, and Mitch Tyner doesn't strike me as someone who would initiate a conversation with Haley Barbour.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Gubernatorial Candidate Vicki Slater Comments on Chancellor Jones Ousting

Says Slater: 

"Dan Jones has been a very successful chancellor, and his termination today stinks to high heaven.

Dan Jones has fought cancer, and he never missed a beat while undergoing treatment. With no supporting information, news of Chancellor Jones' termination was released late on a Friday afternoon. Mississippians deserve better from Governor Bryant's appointed IHL Board.

This is exactly why I'm running for governor. Education, and most assuredly Higher Education, must be a priority, and Phil Bryant has failed Mississippi on Education.

This is a real loss for Ole Miss and for our state."

Gov. Philbo strikes again: Dan Jones out as Ole Miss chancellor

There has been an ongoing power struggle at the Institutions of Higher Learning, with Gov. Phil Bryant and his appointees pushing to politicize the curriculum at our state's colleges and universities by increasing the power wielded by the IHL.

Gov. Bryant has been no fan of University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones, despite the outstanding things Jones has done for the University. (Bryant is in league with supporters of the old Confederate imagery that Jones worked to wipe from the University's image.)

Expect to see someone well-connected to Gov. Bryant be named to replace Jones. And expect that they will be less enthusiastic about getting rid of the Old South trappings long-associated with Ole Miss.

So, what's with the "Philbo" line in the title of this post?  In 1930, Gov. Theodore Bilbo got the predecessor to IHL to fire 3 college presidents and fire 179 professors.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

GOP tax cut would cost more than effort to save hospitals

For years now, Gov. Phil Bryant (R - Mississippi) has refused to adopt the new method of reimbursing hospitals for care provided to those without insurance and unable to pay.  This has driven a good number of our Mississippi hospitals to the brink of closure, and some straight into bankruptcy.  The reason he always gives is "we can't afford it."

Well, here's a comparison of the cost of the tax cut plan before the House today and the costs associated with the new method of hospital reimbursement:

2016
Tax Cut: $12.3M
Hospital Reimbursement: $29M

2017
Tax Cut: $56.2M
Hospital Reimbursement: $94M

2018
Tax Cut: $108.6M
Hospital Reimbursement: $108M

2019
Tax Cut: $166.8
Hospital Reimbursement: $124M

2020
Tax Cut: $233.7M
Hospital Reimbursement: $167M

Total cost from 2016-2020:
Tax Cut: $577.6M
Hospital Reimbursement: $522M

(Source: Lt. Governor’s office tax cut data and  “An Economic Analysis of the State and Local Impact
of Medicaid Expansion in Mississippi” David Becker and Michael Morrisey, November 2013)

Now, I may be a graduate of our chronically underfunded Mississippi public schools, but even I can understand when I'm being sold a bill of goods.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Another Reminder on the Failed Bryant Economy

If you need one more reminder about the failures of the Phil Bryant economy, check out the numbers from the nonpartisan Pew Charitable Trust. The numbers show that on Phil Bryant's watch, the state is enduring the worst job creation record in the country. Despite all the tax giveaways to Phil Bryant's buddies with the promise of more jobs and prosperity, Mississippi remains on the bottom thanks to a lousy return on investment on Phil Bryant's part. 

Furthermore, the state of Kansas (which has been the template for tax policy by our Republican-led legislature) has one of the worst job creation records in the country. The Kansas model was the framework for Speaker Gunn's income tax bill which recently passed the Republican-led House. Leave it to Phil Bryant and his Republican yes-men to follow economic policies that are not working here and across the country. 


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Haley Barbour Pushing Out Candidates?

Sources are reporting that former Governor and career lobbyist Haley Barbour is trying to push Mitch Tyner out of the Republican primary for the Public Service Commission's Central District seat. Mitch Tyner, you may recall, was the lead attorney for state Sen. Chris McDaniel's 2014 lawsuit against U.S. Senator Thad Cochran.

Why does it matter that Haley Barbour is meddling in this Republican primary race? It's quite simple. Haley wants to control the Public Service Commission for his own personal and financial interests. The Kemper County power plant, owned by Mississippi Power, - a subsidiary of Southern Company - is grossly over budget to the tune of nearly $4 billion! What is more troubling is that there is no clear answer about how this will be paid. Will Southern Company write off the debt? Will the cost be pushed onto customers like you and me? If Haley has his way, I think we all know who will be left to pick up the tab.

Haley envisions a Public Service Commission that will continue doing his bidding while he accepts hundreds of thousands of dollars in lobbying fees from companies regulated by the Commission. 

It's not a secret that Mitch Tyner and his conservative supporters are not satisfied with the "establishment" politics provided by the Barbour wing of the Republican Party. It stands to reason that, should Mitch Tyner be the Republican nominee, he could scrutinize the Haley's Kemper project harder than Haley's hand-picked establishment candidate. That's the point. Haley wants to be sure his puppet on the Commission will do as he is told and not ask questions. Thus the reason Haley wants his loyal soldier to take the Republican field with no opposition.

The question now is if Mitch Tyner will buckle and drop out under the immense pressure Haley Barbour and his lackeys are allegedly putting on him. Once again, the Republicans will have quite a race on their hands between the conservatives of Mitch Tyner and the establishment of Haley Barbour. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

GAME ON

The die has been cast in the race for control of the Mississippi House of Representatives.  Here are the numbers:

Total seats:  122
Contested seats:  41
Uncontested seats:  81

Uncontested Democratic seats:  40
Uncontested Republican seats:  41

Contested Republican seats:  25
Contested Democratic seats: 10
Contested open seats:  6

The magic number for control of the House is 62.  That means that if Democrats hold serve in their 10 seats (and they likely will), Democrats only have to win 12 of the 31 remaining seats.

The House is in play, ladies and gentlemen.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Was it the income taxes?

Despite over a year of economic courtship, a $1.2B plant is not coming to Mississippi, but has decided to pack up its "office" and head to Louisiana.

According to the Mississippi Business Journal, American Specialty Alloys would have produced 2,000 construction jobs followed with 450 to 650 jobs paying an average of $85,000 a year.

Governor Phil Bryant's good friend Governor Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana Department of Economic Development undercut whatever bill of goods the Mississippi Development Authority was offering. And since MDA basically operates in secret, we may never know if it was the deal, or if it was our education and healthcare systems that scared them off.

While Louisiana is no high-ranker in education and healthcare scores, they do consistently outrank Mississippi, including actual funding of public schools. And, last I checked, Louisiana hasn't passed a bill to eliminate over $1 billion of income from their state's annual budget.

But, MS GOP Chairman Joe Nosef and the Governor, they've got this.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Is Phil Bryant Using Hillary Clinton's Playbook?

The Phil Bryant campaign is out with a web ad showing the governor trying to be brave in the face of danger while struggling to read his cue cards. (Insert joke about the reading gate.) While watching Bryant's video, his theme sounded quite familiar. It occurred to me that we heard this before from none other than Hillary Clinton in her "3am" ad.

It is rare for Phil Bryant to have an idea that didn't originate with big business benefactors like the Koch brothers, extremist hatemongers like Tony Perkins, or unpopular right-wing governors like Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal. However, Bryant seems to have found Hillary Clinton as his new source of inspiration for this ad. We encourage the governor to embrace other ideas from Secretary Clinton, such as an expansion of the Children's Health Insurance Program and equal pay for women.