Republicans in the Tate Reeves-led State Senate are not guaranteed to vote for the lottery legislation in Jackson cooked up to fund transportation and infrastructure shortfalls caused by misspent budgets across the state.
Whether the party has collectively found a few well-hidden fiscal conservative bones deep in the lobbyist-fatted legislative body remains to be seen.
Governor Bryant’s proposal, the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act, would raise fees and create a state lottery to generate $200 million for transportation and infrastructure spending.
Why are we in this position? A lack of revenue or undisciplined spending? It’s obviously the latter. The state has spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the years on private corporations and government boondoggles, always with the promise of more jobs and a boost to the state’s economy, which has never materialized.
This plan is more of the same; a very unwise and unsound approach to the state’s fiscal issues, and a proposal straight out of the big business/chamber of commerce playbook. It’s an economic scheme that is not based on sound economics but on the flimsy notion of crony capitalism.
Proponents of the lottery may point to the introduction of dock-side gambling as a boon to the state, and it has brought some jobs, but at what cost? Aside from the social problems, those jobs are low wage, service jobs, and not the high-paying manufacturing/tech jobs that are so badly needed in Mississippi.
Although the initial reports were that the bill would sail through the legislature today, it seems that many conservative Republicans are asking similar questions and expressing real doubts about the plan.
Passage is now far from certain.
Check back with MCD for more updates as they emerge!