The 2005 legislative session convenes this week at the Capitol in Jackson. As the new year and new session get underway, there are an interesting number of changes awaiting members of the State House and Senate.
For the naive among us — the uninitiated, if you will — the natural relationship between business and politics might seem unlikely. Nothing could be more wrong.
After all, at the intersection of politics and business one finds power.
Thanks to a wide range of advocacy groups, like MMA, MEC or BIPEC, and savvy leadership from CEOs and lobbyists, Mississippi’s business community wields impressive influence at the Capitol. And not only is this influence impressive; it is absolutely vital.
In the rough and tumble world of politics, the impact legislation has on businesses, industries and overall economic development also leads directly to consequences in everyday life.
Taxation and regulation affect real people and real lives. Understanding these effects requires a thorough understanding of complex situations and relationships. Complete information is often hard to come by, and that is where a good lobbyist can be important.
Certainly, advocates do just that — advocate. However, as our system of governance exists, lobbyists fill an important role. Their points of view can often help lawmakers grasp the larger picture.
And at the end of the day, most of us have been working hard for better businesses, better communities and a better Mississippi.
So, when politics and business do come together, it all tends to add up for the greater good. Remember that the next time someone tries to tell a bad joke about a greedy business owner, corrupt politician or sleazy lobbyist. You might laugh, but it won’t be funny.
How well our legislators handle their leadership responsibilities remains to be seen, but we are hopeful. After all, a new year is a time of optimism and the time to embrace the challenges and opportunities life offers.
By working together and with compromise and candor, 2005 promises to be a profitable year.