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State Bond Commission has wrong priorities

It was reported last week that the State Bond Commission recently approved certain bond-funded projects approved by the state Legislature.

Some of them are:

$3.8 million for “various tourism projects;” $2.8 million for Ohr-O’Keefe Museum (under reconstruction in Biloxi); $2.5 million for Mississippi Children’s Museum (under construction in Jackson); $1 million for Mississippi Museum of Art; $700,000 Mississippi Heritage Fund; $100,000 for Jackson Zoo improvements.

However, the Jackson Water Upgrades project, which received an approval for $6 million in bond funding by the Legislature, received an approval for $0 in funds from the Bond Commission.

What is the point of having fabulous museums and tourist attractions, particularly in the Jackson area, if tourists show up for another week of “Water Crisis?” We’ve already had two in 2010. The third may strike at any moment.

What kind of impression does Mississippi and its Capital City make on tourists with its crumbling water infrastructure and boiled water alerts? What hotel guests want to be handed bottled water for brushing their teeth and find they can’t even take the shower they paid for because the water pressure is too low? Not to mention the food that is hard for them to find because many restaurants shut down when the water supply is low and tainted.

The State Bond Commission should rethink its priorities.

Ideally, Jackson taxes would pay for city infrastructure. But it’s no secret that much of Jackson’s tax base has fled the city in recent years. Yet, our state office buildings — which are tax exempt — and key developments remain within the city limits. 

The state should find the money to fix decaying infrastructure?

We applaud state tourism projects, but first things should be first. It can be quite the downer, if, after a fancy new paint job, the car won’t crank.


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