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BIPEC ratingsworth a look

MBJ Editorial

The Business and Industry Political Education Committee, more commonly known as BIPEC, has released its annual review of Mississippi legislators examining whether or not members of the Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate are pro-business.

Evaluating the job performance of a Mississippi legislator can be daunting (note tongue planted in cheek) and should not be based on one score from one organization, which has a clearly stated mission, but BIPEC’s annual report card is a valuable tool and is more often than not right on target.

BIPEC categorizes legislators as business champions (76-100), moderate business supporters (56-75), marginal business helpers (41-55) or as anti-business (0-40). These performance levels are designed to give “an indication to business leaders how, in general, legislators support economic growth, jobs and other broad job-related issues.” Important factors in BIPEC’s evaluation include:

• a legislator’s votes on economic principles and business issues;

• leadership in committee and floor debates on job-related legislation;

• encouraging other legislators to support economic growth and build coalitions.

And, claims BIPEC, “Just like job performance evaluations in professional offices, plants and stores, we seek to determine a person’s typical performance level over time. Scores enable BIPEC members to make informed investment decisions at election time.”

This year’s line up of “anti-business” legislators and their ratings include house members Reecy Dickson, Macon, 39; James Evans, Jackson, 36; Erik Fleming, Jackson, 33; Tommy Horne, Meridian, 31; and David Myers, McComb, 40; and senate members Deborah Dawkins, Pass Christian, 35; Alice Harden, Jackson, 37; David Lee Jordan, Greenwood, 37; and Johnnie Walls Jr., Greenville, 35.

Like we said, right on target. Legislators ranked this low do enjoy reputations as being less-than-friendly to Mississippi business. Considering the state of our economy and the economic challenges that exist in so many Mississippi communities, including the districts of these “anti-business” legislators, perhaps we’ll see a change of heart when the 2002 legislative session begins in January.

There’s always hope, right?

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