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Paying for government

MBJ Editorial

A state department of labor is one bad idea that just won’t die. But, it should.

Measures to create such a department come around every January when the Legislature is back in session, despite the irrefutable evidence that Mississippi doesn’t need it and certainly does not have the money to fund yet another state agency teeming with bureaucrats.

The simple economic truth of the matter is that Mississippi’s state coffers are all but empty, and we face a fiscal situation that can be remedied by either raising taxes or cutting — programs, services or personnel.

This being an election year, forget the tax hike. So, what to cut? How can we stretch the state budget a bit?

We suggest starting with the nearly 30,000 or so state workers, many of whom might best be described as “nonessential.”

However, there is one group of workers the state cannot afford to sacrifice: teachers. Whether in our K-12 public schools or on the campuses of our community colleges and universities, Mississippi needs to take care of its teachers and institutions of learning.

Adequate funding for education is the starting point for successful lifelong learning, workforce training and economic development.

It has been said that the road to progress and prosperity passes directly by the schoolhouse door. Indeed, that road must pass through the schoolhouse door if we expect every Mississippian to have the skills and ability to compete in a global economy and fulfill the hopeful promise of of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That’s the message that our legislators need to hear, along with the thousands of state workers who don’t think they’re being taken care of this year.

We must invest in our children — not bureaucrats.

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