The lieutenant governor of Mississippi has decided that huge tax cuts in the face of equally large reductions in a dwindling state budget make sense for our citizens. And yet, nothing could be more irresponsible. To essentially ignore the health, education and public safety of nearly 3 million people for political gain is a lesson in failure. One need only look across our border at Louisiana to see the outcome.
Six men — few of whom represent you or me — have locked themselves in a room at the state Capitol and decided our fate without any public input or scrutiny. Had they taken a moment to step outside and look around, they would have seen mental illness, poverty, homelessness and struggling school students, all enveloped by crumbling streets, roads and bridges. Instead, they closed their eyes to the real issues facing Mississippi.
Let’s focus on just one: mental health. As attorney general, one of my jobs is to return money to taxpayers from unscrupulous corporations who have done us harm, such as BP. And in that regard we have been successful to the tune of nearly $3 billion. Most every time I’ve sent a check to our state Legislature, I’ve included a letter asking that a portion of those proceeds be put toward serving the needs of the mentally ill. Again, our leadership has closed its eyes and inexplicably decided to actually cut funds for mental health rather than increase them. The result of this ignorance is staggering.