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Legislative loathing

MBJ Editorial

The Mississippi business community generally has a love-hate relationship with the Legislature. While many of us would say that means “we love to hate the Legislature,” it is more accurately described as: business folks don’t mind state legislators when their actions are pro-business (duh!), an increasingly rare experience by the way, and hate ‘em when they look out for themselves.

Pretty simple. Are you for us or against us? Other special interest groups, and the state as a whole, tend to look to the Capitol with similar mindsets.

Thus, it will be interesting to see what hell our “public servants” will pay in the wake of their “golden parachute” retirement scam.

The decision to boost legislative retirement pay plans, at a time when state coffers are said to be running low and the only way we can fund a teacher pay raise is tied to significant economic growth, is, at best, moronic. But in the seedy netherworld of Mississippi’s good ol’ boy politics, it shouldn’t be too surprising.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this scheme is Gov. Ronnie Musgrove’s decision to let it slide into law. The governor attempted a neat-n-tidy political exit from the situation. He should have stopped this self-serving bill with a veto.

Forgive our optimism, but we think Mississippians deserve better. It is our hope that the business community, and anyone who believes in the ideals of democratic government, will remember this sneaky little episode brought to us by a majority of legislators and the complicity or ignorance of other officials (just ask Lt. Gov. Amy “I Didn’t Know” Tuck about it).

Statewide elections are a few years away, but issues like this one tend to stick around. We certainly hope it does and that the fallout creates an early retirement result for those responsible for the mess.

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