It has been difficult to focus on much more than the national tragedy that seized our nation Sept. 11. We have been held captive by grief, shock and uncertainty. But, fortunately, the world has continued. People have carried on, and albeit slowly, we are all moving forward.
So it should be.
Turning our thoughts back to the everyday, there are other issues demanding attention.
In Mississippi, perhaps the most pressing issue is how state government will fund itself. Budget hearings have been underway in Jackson for weeks now, and they have been marked by rancor, doubt and plenty of questions about where the money is going to come from to pay for existing and new programs, services, plans and personnel.
Gov. Ronnie Musgrove’s appearance before a legislative committee last week was typical of how the budget planning process is going this fall. The governor wanted to talk about one deal, using money from the state tobacco fund to secure more federal funding to help pay for health care. The legislators were focused on the state’s Medicaid shortage, which at almost $125 million is significant. They also decried Musgrove’s, as they see it, lack of details.
The governor said he wanted to work out the details with the Legislature; many legislators don’t seem interested in working with Musgrove on much of anything.
On it goes. Progress is unlikely, but at lease we can expect a stormy and entertaining legislative session in 2002.
However, in all seriousness, it is vital for Mississippi business and industry to watch carefully the budget proceedings and to prepare now for the session that starts in January.
Unchecked, government becomes a monster consuming evermore of our hard-earned and invested dollars. We must not allow that to continue.