Democrats announce ambitious agenda

Democrats in the Mississippi Legislature want to give all state employees a raise, expand Medicaid to cover the working poor, fully fund public education and spend more on roads and bridges.

The House and Senate Democratic caucuses — a minority in both chambers — announced the “Mississippi Achievement Plan,” their agenda for the 2014 legislative session, now in its second week.

“Now is the time to do it,” said House Democratic Leader Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto. “We are ready to work. We are ready to lead, and we are ready to get in the trenches and make things happen that all these Democrats in both chambers are united together to push forward.”

But one Republican leader questioned how the state could pay for all the agenda items.

“That’s like pulling out the Sears catalog before Christmas and dog-earing every page,” said Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon, a top lieutenant in the House GOP leadership. “… If you added all this up, it would bankrupt the state of Mississippi … At some point, cooler heads have to prevail, and the adults in the room have to make the tough decisions.”

Clarion Ledger