Is Musgrove simply flexing his muscle?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Gov. Ronnie Musgrove’s feeble attempt at a compromise on Tuesday does little to soothe the growing discontent among voters and lawmakers.

By rescheduling his call for a special session, Musgrove made a feeble attempt to accommodate lawmakers’ schedules.

But his taunt that lawmakers can either serve that day without pay or that he’ll raise private money to fund the $30,000 special session is outlandish.

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And it’s not the type of leadership we expect from a governor who campaigned on the strength of his relationship with the Legislature.

Musgrove’s political posturing is only damaging what is left of that relationship. Leaders of both the Senate and the House have publicly called on Musgrove to reconsider his call for a one-day, one-topic special session to kill a section of law that ties teacher pay raises to a 5-percent budget increase. Instead, they said, Musgrove should partner the issue with the as-of-yet unscheduled special session to address congressional redistricting. It’s a matter of economy, efficiency and common sense.

His decision Tuesday to reschedule that one-topic, teacher pay raise session from July 18 to July 23 accommodates the nearly 40 lawmakers scheduled to attend a conference in Georgia next week. But the governor refuses to budge on the larger issue, hiding instead behind the flag of making &uot;a historic vote for the children and teachers of Mississippi.&uot;

No one argues the need for teacher raises; and, leaders among both houses have publicly described the removal of the 5-percent trigger as a sure thing. It will happen.

But the governor’s calling of a special session to force the vote seems more like flexing of his political muscle in the face of lawmakers who dared to cross him than leadership.

And that’s a shame, because Mississippi is due for some real leadership.