From: Jamie Franks
Subject: Barbour playing politics with budget
Date: Thursday, June 4, 2009, 3:36 PM
I need your help
Below is the text of a press release I sent out today. The message is simple:
Republicans are playing dangerous political games with the state budget.
You can help us. You can call key Republican leaders and tell them to stop playing games and adopt the compromises they agreed upon earlier. This will have to be done in a special session, but it can be done quickly.
If we allow the governor to get away with his political stunt, he will cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars. We can’t let that happen.
Please make the calls:
1. Gov. Haley Barbour – (601) 359-3150
2. Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant – (601) 359-3200
3. Sen. Alan Nunnelee – (601) 359-3250
4. Sen. Billy Hewes – (601) 359-3209
With your help, maybe we can still save our state budget before Republicans let our government completely shut down.
Chairman Jamie Franks
Franks speaks out on budget negotiations
JACKSON – Chairman Jamie Franks today condemned the Republican legislative leadership for playing politics with the well being of the state and its taxpayers.
“Republicans in the Legislature have decided that their political futures are more important than the future and well being of the people of Mississippi,” Franks said. “Instead of doing the work they are paid to do, they abdicated their authority to the governor in a purely politically calculated scheme.”
Franks said Gov. Barbour, Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant and other Republicans in the Senate are more interested in 2011 elections than the budgeting process.
“House and Senate negotiators have reached compromises, only for Sen. Alan Nunnelee to withdraw the agreement at the behest of the governor,” Franks said. “These political shenanigans threaten to shut down government, and if that happens, the people will suffer because of foolish political games played by Republicans.”
The sticking point in negotiations is now whether or not to move $60 million to a fund to be used in 2011.
“We have $60 million to fill budget holes. Why don’t Republicans want to use that money this year? I’ll tell you why. Because Phil Bryant isn’t running for governor until 2011,” Franks said. “There is no rational, logical reason to delay using that money right now to fill our budget holes.”
Franks said using the Rainy Day Fund should also be an option.
“Look outside, it’s coming an economic monsoon in Mississippi,” Franks said.
Franks also praised House negotiators for their efforts.
“When the governor wanted a $90 million hospital tax and the House was opposed to any hospital tax, the House negotiators compromised,” Franks said. “On one day, Sen. Nunnelee thought the compromise was a good idea. A few days later, he said it wasn’t good enough. How is that good-faith negotiating on the part of the Republicans?”
Franks also pointed out that allowing the governor to call a special session is bad fiscal policy.
“A special session costs more per day than does the regular session, but the governor and lieutenant governor don’t care about that,” Franks said. “The governor wants control over the legislative process, and I guess Phil Bryant doesn’t mind handing over that control instead of being a leader like he was elected to do.”
Franks said the governor’s budget will be detrimental to the state. Gov. Barbour’s budget would:
Increase classroom sizes to 45 students, far too large for teachers to be effective
Cut $100 million in education funding over three years
Reduce funding for special education and gifted programs
Levy a $90 million tax on hospitals in a time when health care costs are increasing and hospitals are struggling to stay afloat
Cut funding for training of new highway patrol officers at a time when 10 percent of the force is approaching retirement
“For someone who travels the country talking about his sound fiscal policy, Gov. Barbour has some troubling budget proposals,” Franks said. “We have money to pay for services now, but instead of doing so the governor and lieutenant governor will waste thousands of taxpayer dollars on a special session. That may be good partisan politics, but it’s horrible public policy.”