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Cut the drama, make a budget

Chanting and throwing shouldn’t be a part of our state’s budget bill ritual; lawmakers know that.

But knowing and controlling your emotions are two different things, and there is a reason reality TV exists.

Life is dramatic for too many of us, it seems. Government is no different.

As the Mississippi Legislature’s three-month session winds — hopefully — to a close, tensions are heating up.

No final redistricting plan has been approved, and no budget has been passed, despite Saturday’s deadline.

Lawmakers face either an extended session which means more time in Jackson away from family, friends and regular life, or a special session which will bring them all back to the capital city in a few weeks for round two.

Either option will cost you money.

In frustration come emotional outbursts; ask any reality TV producer.

Monday Rep. Steve Holland of Plantersville let his frustration get the best of him, and he’ll probably never live it down.

When House Speaker Billy McCoy asked Holland to provide a copy of a bill to a fellow Democratic legislator, he obliged — with too much force.

Holland threw the bill at Rep. Omeria Scott of Laurel in a fit of anger.

Holland later apologized, but not before fellow legislators expressed their disgust at his actions.

Tuesday, legislators arrived at work — frustration in tow — to a bit of a choir.

More than 500 people rallied at the Capitol against discussed cuts to the state’s education budget.

It’s unlikely that hearing, “No more cuts! No more cuts!” cleared heads on either side of the debate enough to make the decisions and compromises our state desperately needs.

Yet, as frustrated citizens we often feel no other outlet to express our opinions to our leaders than by screaming.

It’s a complicated system of government that our country so loves. It’s wonderful, yet flawed, most folks will admit.

Lawmakers will convene again today, but easy answers are difficult to come by when expenditures are higher than revenues and the needs are so great.

The time for discussing, debating, throwing and chanting has passed, though. Our state needs a budget without waiting and spending more money.

The House tried unsuccessfully Tuesday to pass a session-extending resolution, which needed a two-thirds majority, or 82 votes, to pass. It got only 68. The other 54 House members voted against it.

That means they start today without a clear plan of attack.

The reality TV producer would surely be poised and ready to capture the inevitable drama, stage interviews with the witnesses and roll footage to capture attention of the masses.

But this isn’t TV; it’s just plain reality.

And Mississippians deserve government without drama today, tomorrow and forever.

Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or julie.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.


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