Archive for August, 2010

Political battle lines forming over jobs bill

August 11th, 2010 3 comments

It didn’t take long for Gov. Haley Barbour to express his displeasure over the $26 billion state-aid legislation President Barack Obama signed into law Tuesday.

In a press release his office issued Aug. 9, Barbour said the bill would force Mississippi’s budget into a re-write in order for the state to accept the $98 million for public education and $130 million for Medicaid.

The state’s budget for fiscal year 2011 has been set since June. Proponents of the bill claim it will rehire laid off teachers or keep those teetering on the edge of unemployment in the classroom. Travis Childers, D-Booneville, and Bennie Thompson, D-Bolton, voted for it. Gene Taylor, D-Bay St. Louis, and Gregg Harper, R-Pearl, voted against it. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker both voted against it.

“There is no justification for the federal government hijacking state budgets, but that is exactly what Congress has done,” Barbour said in his statement.

So does that mean Barbour will call lawmakers back to Jackson to reconfigure the budget?

Not necessarily, said Barbour spokesman Dan Turner. The state has the option to decline the education money, or show a “maintenance of effort” to work it into the budget without having to redo the whole thing.

Which is the best option?

“Too soon to say,” Turner said.

The notion of whether to accept one-time federal money for a specific state expense got a lot of political run about a year and a half ago, when the original stimulus bill included for Mississippi $56 million for extended unemployment benefits. Barbour and several other Republican governors refused to take it. Democrats wailed. It’s likely a similar scenario will play out this time around.

Categories: Haley Barbour, News, Politics, State revenue Tags:

Yoknapatawpha Arts Council in running for $20,000 grant

August 9th, 2010 No comments

About four years ago, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council moved into the Powerhouse, a stone and brick building on South 14th street in Oxford. It was built in 1928 and once housed the Oxford Electric Co.

Renovated with money from the Mississippi Arts Commission, the City of Oxford and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Powerhouse has become a popular venue for corporate events, wedding receptions, and also hosts arts workshops and seminars. The Powerhouse is currently seeking funding for the completion of its second phase, which will include theater space with new lighting, flooring seating and a stage.

For its efforts to revive the Powerhouse, the YAC has emerged from thousands of applicants and is now one of 41 programs that Tom’s of Maine is considering for a $20,000 grant. Five programs will receive the money.

Tom’s of Maine, a natural personal care product company, is administering the grants as part of its 50 States for Good program.

The YAC is competing with programs from Brooklyn, Seattle and St. Paul, Minn.

“Some of these cities have populations equal almost the entire state of Mississippi,” Wayne Andrews, director of the YAC, said in an email to the Mississippi Business Journal.

You can help the YAC land the grant. Visit this site and vote for the Powerhouse. It’s easy, and it benefits a worthy venture.

So as they say in Chicago, vote early and often.

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