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New year, new century, new governor

As I See It

Well, the longest gubernatorial election in Mississippi history is over. Finally. The process has been completed and we now have a new governor.

I congratulate Governor Ronnie Musgrove on his victory. He is a fine man and he will do our state great service.

New year, new century, new governor. Regardless of political persuasion, it is time to let bygones be bygones, and let’s unite behind our new

governor and give him our enthusiastic support. Due to the lengthy process of resolving the election, he is undoubtedly behind where he would

have otherwise been in organizing his administration. He will overcome this burden and be off and running very quickly.

Mississippi, along with the rest of the country, has enjoyed a decade of prosperity unparalleled in our history. More Mississippians are working at

higher paying jobs than ever before. The plague of unemployment and high interest rates have been dormant for a long time. Governor Musgrove

begins his administration with the ship of state in good financial order.

Governor Musgrove is known as a strong supporter of public education. In my opinion, there is no better issue to champion. To keep Mississippi

moving forward, we simply must improve public education. Low-paying manufacturing jobs are exiting our state and they will not return. To

replace those jobs with higher-tech, good paying jobs, we must offer a literate workforce. Otherwise, the jobs will not come. Manufacturing and

agriculture are value-creating industries and are essential to the furtherance of our economy. Service jobs are nice, but unless we create value

through manufacturing and agriculture, we will end up serving each other without really creating enough economic value.

Our farming economy is in the ditch. Prices are less than production costs in many instances. Our farmers cannot continue unless things change in a

big way, and soon. Success will be found through increased exports and shifting to more profitable crops. Though I don’t view governmental farm

price supports as the answer, some government assistance is needed. Price supports simply prolong the problem and discourage the search for a

real solution. In my view, the Governor could help resuscitate our agricultural economy by placing maximum emphasis on increasing exports and

financial assistance to our farmers in transitioning to profitable crops.

In addition to the problem of substandard public education, Governor Musgrove also inherits a crisis in the health care arena. Mississippi, along

with the rest of the country, is going through a fundamental shift in the delivery of health care. Here at MBJ, our MONTHLY health insurance

premiums exceed the ANNUAL premiums I paid when I first started in business in 1976. As much as I enjoy great health care services, there is a

limit to the amount that can be paid, and I think we have just about reached that limit. The problem will be solved as individuals bare more of the

cost PERSONALLY and thereby become “consumers” of health care rather than merely “users.” As long as someone else is picking up the tab,

we will continue to refuse to take responsibility for our own health.

Finally, the Department of Economic and Community Development has served Mississippi well during the last decade. Continuing the thrust of

MDECD’s programs unfettered by political innuendo is a strategy I strongly recommend that Governor Musgrove give consideration to.

Mississippi’s economic development is much too important to become a political football.

In closing, I wish Governor Musgrove every success as our governor. He now heads a great state populated by a great people, and he will do

well.

Thought for the Moment

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

— James 1:2

Joe D. Jones, CPA, is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. His e-mail address is cpajones@msbusiness.com.

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