CL – Barbour’s budget plan may ‘shock and awe’ us

After almost 30 years of closely watching the state budget process, I have come to the conclusion that for most Mississippians, news media warning of a pending state “budget crisis” is greeted, perceived and processed just like the teacher’s voice in the old Charlie Brown & Peanuts cartoon specials on TV.

“Wah, wah, wah, wah, budget crisis, wah, wah, wah, now, new video of Madonna eating a live squirrel after these messages.”

“State budget crisis” has become the political equivalent in Mississippi of the ShamWow or SlapChop commercial. We tune it out. We hear it once, then it’s no longer even remotely interesting.

But the fact remains that Mississippi is facing – over the next 2 to 3 years, mind you – the worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression.

Hyperbole? Nope.

For the next couple of years, the sacred cows of the Mississippi budget process may well be headed to the slaughterhouse.

Barbour said he’d put his budget “cards on the table face up” when he releases his EBR tomorrow. Jokes aside, I fear that it will take this document to wake Mississippians up to the dire budget challenges before us.

And this will be one time that Barbour hopes that state legislators have a better plan.

Sid Salter
Clarion-Ledger
11/15/9