September 16, 2019 10:38:50 AM
Questions accomplishments credited to Reeves'
Mr. Heath Fisackerly wrote a letter published here on Thursday, in which he 1) strongly encouraged readers to exercise their right to vote; and 2) to vote for Tate Reeves for governor. I applaud the former but am critical of the second.
Yes, by all means, we all should get out and vote. I often think that those who need to vote most are the ones who do not. As a result, their lives are in economic 'neutral' at best while the upper economic strata - who are more likely to vote - continue to flourish.
Turning to what Tate Reeves has done to improve the lives of the average Mississippian - I say not much. Mr. Fisackerly describes the Mississippi economy as 'booming' for which he credits Reeves. I find that hard to believe while living in a state that still can't keep its roads and bridges maintained (see Slim Smith's Slimantics column from 8/30/19 Dispatch for more on the trickle-down effect - or lack of - from the many Reeves tax cuts). While true that state revenues increased for 2019, - I could not find any source citing the 5.5 percent Mr. Fisackerly claimed (highest was 4.91). Further, he described this increase as 'year-over-year', meaning over multiple years, yet state revenues from 2015-2018 were essentially flat. The 2019 increase could be a turning point, I suppose, but it could also be a fluke. And maybe more Mississippians are working now but I could find no data on the median income obtained by those added to the workforce.
Here's what I do know. Mississippi added just 11,000 jobs in 2018, the fewest in the southeastern US; the state added jobs at about that same rate in the first half of 2019. Mississippi households still ranked lowest among the 50 states in 2019 for household income. This low ranking is offset somewhat by also having the lowest cost of living in the country but Mississippi still ranks very low (#48) in quality of life in 2019.
If I was Tate Reeves, that's not the record I'd want to run on.
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