On Monday, the remnants of the Capitol Press Corps gathered in downtown for the Stennis Press Luncheon. Lt. Governor Tate Reeves was the speaker and he gave the assembled crowd of 60 or so people a twenty minute talk about his vision for state government.
Reeves’s stump speech as the state’s number 2 sounds a lot like his stump speech as a candidate – lowering bonded indebtedness, looking for efficiencies in state government, looking for opportunities to consolidate failing school districts and other familiar topics that have been discussed.
At the end of Reeves’s remarks, Phil Hardwick, who chairs the Stennis event, opened up the floor for questions from press members. Mississippi Business Journal cameras caught one of the more interesting exchanges on tape.
Mississippi Public Broadcasting reporter Jeff Hess opened up questioning with this doozy…
Hess: Uhh, why not talk about raising revenue? . . . Why was there no discussion about ways to raise state revenue?
Reeves: I’m against raising taxes on anyone, so why would I spend time talking about anything that’s not going to happen.
Hess: Even all these goals you say you have . . .funding education fully and not raising taxes at all?
Reeves: (pregnant pause – staring at reporter) We’re not raising taxes.
Much to the chagrin of newspaper editors throughout Mississippi, who will likely pine away on opinion pages for a tax increase in the face of a tough budget year, Reeves has effectively closed the door to that in the Senate.
Give Reeves all the credit in the world. So far, he’s doing as Lt. Governor exactly what he said he would as a candidate.
Special thanks to the Mississippi Business Journal for filming the event and for sharing this with the public.