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Trust fund tapping

MBJ Editorial

It is unlikely that we will ever know whether or not Gov. Ronnie Musgrove’s recently announced plan to bolster the state budget would have worked — whether it was wise or wasteful — because the cooperation needed simply to discuss his proposal reasonably does not exist in Jackson. It will become lost in a cloud of rhetoric and politics.

In his speech at the Neshoba County Fair, the governor divulged the rather complicated plan to use some of the state’s so-called tobacco money for other important issues, such as payraises for university and community college faculty, in addition to the tobacco settlement trust fund’s primary purpose: paying for health care.

While fiscal conservatism is needed in our state government, using a percentage of the tobacco money for other critical needs, as Musgrove has proposed, is worth considering.

Having a trust fund just for the sake of having a trust fund is as useless as not having any money at all. The time has come for state leaders to look hard at how some of the tobacco money could be wisely and prudently used in addition to health care issues.

Dem decay

The slow and somewhat tedious demise of the Mississippi Democratic Party continued last week as a sparse crowd turned out for the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner, touted as the biggest fundraiser of the year for the party.

More than one source reported that only a couple hundred people attended the event — well below the expected turnout and far from the 500 a few Democrats claimed were there.

The Democratic Party’s problems stem from an inability to overcome the bickering and manipulation of a few, small factions interested solely in their own selfish agendas. It is unfortunate that the party has been so weakened by internal strife that Mississippi is becoming a one-party state. Whatever one’s political persuasion, it’s hard to argue with the assertion that two healthy political parties engaged in important issues is best for our democracy.

But in Mississippi, moderate and conservative Democrats have no home in a party dominated by white liberals, black radicals and trial lawyers. We expect this marginalization from mainstream Mississippi to continue.

One thing is certain: It’s a good time to be a Republican in the Magnolia State.

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