GEOFF PENDER: Upon further review, ‘ree-form’ panels appear worthwhile

The announcement months back by House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves that they were forming special legislative “working groups” to study the state budget and taxes and propose reform was met with a good deal of skepticism and cynicism.

I did my part, including a snarky column with a long “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” Pappy O’Daniel analogy — the Republican leaders were calling for “ree-form” when they’re the incumbents and have been in charge a while.

But after the first few rounds of the committees meeting, and more scheduled for October, I’ll concede they appear to be a worthwhile endeavor. They are giving lawmakers deeper insight into what the state’s largest agencies are up to and how they’re spending money.

Now, whether the work of these panels will result in the “comprehensive budget and tax reform” as initially billed remains to be seen. And if panel members thus far have found hundreds of millions of dollars worth of largess in state government that could be easily sliced, then I’ve missed it.

Clarion Ledger
9/24/16