State government growth has come to a halt, not sure if good thing

For Better or worse, Mississippi Republicans are fulfilling their promises to cut state government. This is a dramatic change from the doubling each decade since 1990.
Based on the annual reports from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, total state spending grew 124 percent from 1990 to 2000, 99 percent from 2000 to 2010, but only four percent from 2010 to 2018. That’s a huge shift.
In other words, after two decades of doubling in size, the growth of state government has come to a screeching halt since the Republicans booted out the Democrats as the dominant party in the state.

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Interesting time in Memphis

Every time I go to a music festival, I figure it’s my last one, but somehow I ended up at the Memphis in May music festival recently. My role at these festivals is essentially teen chaperone. What is it about teenagers and music festivals? They love them. I liken it to a herd of antelopes with a smart phone stuck on their horn.
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Mississippi needs to embrace genetic testing

Mississippi spends about $350 million a year on prescription drugs through its Medicaid program. Unfortunately, a huge percentage of that money is wasted because the drugs don’t work. A mouth swab genetic test could fix that, but progress is slow in our state. Expensive drugs such as statins, diabetes medications, blood thinners, antidepressives and the like are covered under Mississippi Medicaid but the genetic tests that can determine whether they work aren’t covered.
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Roads, bridges require a gas tax

When the state legislature voted 30 years ago to vastly improve Mississippi’s highways, they passed an 18 cent gas tax. It was the most logical way to fund the program.
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Locking up the mentally ill and throwing away the key is wrong

Two hundred and twenty-six years ago, the Federalists were having trouble getting the states to ratify the new Constitution of the United States. The anti-Federalists, led by Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Patrick Henry, feared the proposed constitution did not adequately protect the individual rights of the common man. 
As a result, James Madison drafted the Bill of Rights. The rest is history.

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Regulated monopolies are not the best model

Competition is the lifeblood of success, so it’s good news to finally see some competition in the bidding for statewide landline telecommunication services to state agencies, schools, libraries, universities and other governmental entities. After decades of a virtual AT&T monopoly, Mississippi-based C-Spire has won the bid and will save the state $32 million.
“For decades, AT&T was the only real statewide landline provider,” Hu Meena, C-Spire CEO, told me in a telephone interview. “Over the last 15 years, we’ve being putting in thousands of miles of fiber network in the state of Mississippi, so we were able to compete and put in a very attractive bid that allowed us to win most of the services over the next eight years.”

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Nobody cares about crazy people, especially the criminal ones

At one end of Jackson’s Congress Street sits the modern Federal Courthouse. At the other end sits our traditional State Capitol. They face each other at opposite ends of the street.
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We should care for mentally ill like we do those suffering from heart disease, cancer

At the federal courthouse in Jackson, East Mississippi Correctional Facility is defending itself against a lawsuit claiming atrocious conditions for its inmates.
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We must do more with early childhood intervention

Who wouldn’t be happy with a 13.8 percent return on investment? A stockbroker who could do that would have investors beating down his door.
Nobel prize winner economist James Heckman was in Jackson, Mississippi, last month presenting evidence that early childhood intervention can yield a 13.8 percent monetary return for the state of Mississippi.

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Two state leaders – two very different views

At the start of every year, the Stennis Capitol Press Forum has Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and David Baria, leader of the House Democrats, talk in back-to-back sessions. It’s an interesting contrast in views on the state.
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