Good grief, governor: It is personal to taxpayers

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 13, 2001

Good grief.&uot; If our beloved Charlie Brown lived in Mississippi, instead of on the comics pages of newspapers across America, the antics of our governor and Legislature would prompt him to sigh that familiar phrase.

And who could argue with him?

As an exasperated public watches, Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove is perpetuating the political polarization he vowed to end while campaigning just over a year ago. Instead of capitalizing on what he described as a mutual respect and solid working relationship with the Mississippi Legislature, Musgrove is flexing his political muscle in the face of the Legislature. After a contentious session last year in which Musgrove’s highly touted teacher pay package was restricted by the lawmakers, the governor has taken off the proverbial gloves. Now, as lawmakers are conceding that the pay issue shouldn’t be tied to a 5 percent state budget growth, Musgrove ordered a special session to resolve this single issue – without consulting the lawmakers and without apparent consideration to the efficency and effectiveness of the session. The call infuriated legislative leaders, lawmakers and voters alike.

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It’s not personal, he has said.

We politely disagree.

It is personal to the voters and taxpayers of this state who elected Gov. Musgrove on the assumption that he would be an effective governor. We expected him to bring a new level of leadership to our state, a leadership that would rise above the gubernatorial-legislative spitting matches that for four years had mired our state’s government and thwarted our growth.

And we’re holding Musgrove accountable for those promises. If he fails to step up and lead, then we expect the issue will become deeply personal for the governor next time we return to the polls.