Chairman Franks responds to Gov. Barbour’s budget

JACKSON – Chairman Jamie Franks released the following statements regarding Gov. Haley Barbour’s budget recommendations.

ECONOMIC CONDITIONS

“The governor has touted his ability to bring new jobs to Mississippi, but under his administration Mississippi is facing the worst economic downturn most of us have seen.”

“Instead of damaging the education systems of our state or devastating the budget of our state’s chief law enforcement officer, the governor should start his cuts with his own office. He has the largest staff and payroll of any governor in our state’s history. The same can be said for Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant as well.”

“We all know budgeting is going to be difficult, but what Gov. Barbour has put forward would wreak absolute havoc on our ability to provide crucial services to the people our elected officials serve.”

UNIVERSITY CONSOLIDATION

“By the governor’s own admission, his plan to consolidate three of our state’s universities with two others would save us a minimal amount of money. That he would propose such a change without the input of college leaders and the State College Board shows his arrogance and his dictatorial approach to governing.”

“Our state’s historic black colleges are spread out across this state. Merging them does not make any kind of logistical sense. Nor does it make sense to deprive the students these schools serve of choices in their higher education.”

SCHOOL DISTRICT CONSOLIDATION

“We cannot expect to produce a well educated, well trained workforce if we continue to cut our public education budget. The governor has never been a friend to public education, and this year’s budget shows his complete disregard to our school systems.”

“If consolidation is to take place, it should be left to the local school districts, their leaders and the citizens in those districts to make that choice. It should not be the role of Jackson leaders to tell the people of Mississippi how to run their communities.”

“If the governor had his way, communities would lose their identities with their local schools. More importantly, hard-working teachers would lose their jobs. We should be seeking ways to increase public education and create jobs, not the other way around.”

STATE EMPLOYEE BOARD

“Since the day he was elected, the governor has waged war on the employees of this state. It seems to be his greatest ambition to have ultimate hiring and firing authority over the men and women who provide the vital services of our state. I would hope that the Legislature continues to resist the governor’s desire to do so.”

“Our state Personnel Board already has in safeguards to ensure that unproductive employees can be terminated with cause. To strip our state employees of the protection offered by the Personnel Board would be to expose them to the political pressures of the governor who would quite likely ”