Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Statistics On the Tobacco--Grocery Sales Tax Swap

We in the accounting profession have an old cliche': Take a statistic to lunch. So being the CPA that I am and a political buff, I decided to pull some statistics on the tobacco--grocery sales tax swap. I went through the Mississippi State Tax Commission report (www.mstc.state.us) for fiscal year 2005 (Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2006. The fiscal year 2006 report hasn't been issued yet.) for my statistics.

Right now, we have the lowest tobacco tax in the nation. It is true Missouri has a penny less than Mississippi, but municipalities and counties are allowed to assess an extra four to seven cents extra a pack in Missouri (which all the counties and municipalities in that state do assess). We tax cigarettes at an anemic 18 cents a pack. The U.S. median is 80 cents a pack.

While we have the lowest tobacco tax in the nation, we have the highest sales tax on groceries. The state of Arkansas just recently cut its sales tax on food from 6% to 3%. Why can't we do that?

For FY 2005, the state took in $58,118,106 in tobacco taxes. Let us make the assumption the tax is raised an extra dollar a pack. That would make the tax $1.18 a pack. Doing the math, that would bring in $380,996,473 a year, or an additional $322,878,367 a year from the current amount.

There are 6536 food stores in the state (specialty and general). The total sales for these stores was $3,615,576,826. The sales tax collected on those sales was $253,090,629. YOU COULD ELIMINATE THE ENTIRE TAX ON GROCERIES AND STILL HAVE EXTRA REVENUE! Do the math. $322,878,367 minus $253,090,629 gives you a surplus of $69,787,738. For FY 2005, municipalities received $383,170,773 in sales tax revenues from the state. Just giving the surplus to municipalities would increase sales tax revenues to the cities by 18.213%, or up to $452,958,511. That would pave a lot of city streets. Where is the so-called "loss" due to the swap?

I know the argument others would make. More people would give up smoking. OK, fine. For the break even point to hit in the increase in the tobacco tax versus eliminating the grocery tax, smoking would have to go down by 21.614% ($69,787,738 divided by $322,878,367). Smoking is inelastic when it comes to price increases. There would be a small decline, but not much. And certainly not 21.614%.

Another way to ensure municipalities and counties would get more money would be to raise the gambling tax from 8% to 12%, with the increase going solely for municipalities and counties. That would bring in an extra $137,411,636 a year. Since the municipalities receive sales tax revenues and counties don't, I would give 80% to the counties. That would help lower the steep ad valorem taxes on car tags. The municipalities could use those funds for infrastructure.

I do not understand what the fuss is on the tax swap. It would give the poor and the working class a really good tax break. I read on one blog some people would go out of state and spend their tax savings money there. Perhaps so. However, that would be a small number. But unless they are on the border of a state it would be a waste of money (gas ain't cheap) to spend their money there. Also, if we did eliminate the sales tax on groceries, more people would come from Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama because they still tax groceries. They would spend their money here.

Look over the statistics. If they are wrong, let me know and I'll correct them. But I think the Mississippi State Tax Commission is the best source on sales tax and tobacco revenues. If you have better sources, let me know. Statistics are juicy. Take a statistic to lunch.

As for the Lt. Governor's race, Jamie Franks is absolutely correct on this issue and Phil Bryant is wrong. Why is it so hard to cut such a regressive tax on the necessities of life?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Todd Brand's Dirty Politics

I enjoy rough-and-tumble politics. I don't mind negative or even nasty politics. But if it is, I expect it to be honest and forthright. If you call your opponent an embezzler or a womanizer, have facts and documentation to back up the accusation. Otherwise, don't do it and pollute the political process.

In the 2007 elections, I have seen a fair share of negative advertising. Some of it was in the GOP race for Lt. Governor. Other negative advertising is the Democratic runoff for Hinds County District Attorney. I had--and have--no objections to that negative campaigning. They base it on facts and even give sources for their facts.

But Todd Brand's advertisement against Mike Sumrall hit a real low. The two candidates are in a runoff for the Democratic nomination for State Auditor. It has an unflattering photo of Mike Sumrall stating he (or some other organization) had a phone bank stating he was black and a member of the NAACP. ( It came on ABC Channel 16 on Saturday night around 11PM.) Also, it hinted some secret contributor(s) was(were) financing these phone banks for Sumrall.

That is a hoot! Sumrall is not black and he is not a member of the NAACP. Also, he has no secret contributors or someone financing his campaign. Brand is not qualified to be State Auditor so he is using personal attacks on Sumrall rather than attacking Sumrall's qualifications. Brand may be a good college administrator but that does not give him the ability to run the OSA. Does Brand know anything about what it takes to perform a successful audit? Mike Sumrall sure does. Also, Sumrall has been timely in filing his campaign financial reports. Brand was late. Who do you think would do a better job in a timely fashion?

What stunned me was Brand's praising Phil Bryant's management of the OSA. He has not read the PEER report and other reports strongly criticizing Bryant's management of the office. If Brand is that ignorant of what is going on in the OSA (Hey Brand. What about the 88% turnover in the OSA office? Would you call that good management?), he does not need to be State Auditor.

If Mike Sumrall is the Democratic nominee, I'll do all I can to help him. If Brand wins the nomination, I'll vote for Republican Stacy Pickering. Neither Pickering or Brand is qualified to be State Auditor. But at least Pickering isn't a fool or a vicious campaigner.

Tomorrow, let's do the State of Mississippi a service and take politics out of the State Auditor's office. Please vote for Mike Sumrall for State Auditor in the runoff Democratic primary.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Math of the Grocery Sales Tax Cut

There is a big debate on the grocery sales tax cut proposal linked to raising the taxes on tobacco. As a CPA, I decided to do some research and math on the matter. Unless you are new to the state, Democratic Jamie Franks is for the above proposal and Republican Phil ("Flip Flop Phil") Bryant is against it because of Gov. Haley Barbour (who is vehemently opposed to it). Bryant wants an income tax cut. While Franks has outlined his proposal, which constitutes immediately cutting the grocery sales tax in half and eventually eliminating the tax, Bryant has NOT spelled out his income tax cut proposals.

The median household income in Mississippi is $31330 and for a single person $15853 (This is based on a WASHINGTON POST article covering the Mississippi elections for 2006.). The average family of four spends $150 a week on groceries. A single person spends approximately $40 a week on groceries. Note this does not include head of households, which could range to two individuals in the family to four or five.

By cutting the sales tax in half on groceries, the average household will save $273 a year. If it is eliminated, the savings goes to $546 a year. A single person will save $72.80 and $145.60 respectively.

Since Bryant hasn't spelled out his income tax proposals, let us assume we raise the standard deduction from $2300 to $3500 for singles, $4600 to $7000 for marrieds and the brackets remain the same. Let us also assume the married couple has two children and the parents work. Let us also assume the single and the married couple take only the standard deduction. With the new increase in deductions, the single person will save $48 a year and the average married household will save $89.30 a year. For the break even point to occur on income tax savings to match half the tax cut on groceries, the single standard deduction would have to go from $2300 to $4120. To match the entire tax cut on groceries, the single standard deduction would have to go from $2300 to $6302. For the break even point to occur on income tax savings to match half the tax cut on groceries, the married standard deduction would have to go from $4600 to $13123. Of course, the entire tax cut on groceries would be greater than eliminating their entire tax liability.

I'll admit the math is complicated, but get out the 2006 income tax forms and do the math (Go to http://www.mstc.state.ms.us/ and download the individual income tax forms.). The sales tax elimination on groceries would save a lot of money for the poor and the working class. Our sales tax on groceries is one of the highest in the nation.

Before you think it's a losing proposition in state revenue if more people give up smoking and the sales tax on groceries is eliminated, it will actually make money for the state. What do you think the people will do with that tax savings? They'll spend it on other goods! Surprise! This is the good-old-supply-side-economics that worked during the Reagan years and to a small degree under current President Bush (His gutless father raised taxes which threw the economy into a mild recession.). I thought Bryant would love this. But no, he doesn't. Plus, more people will be inclined to give up tobacco. This will not only save us in Medicaid costs, but that money former smokers don't spend on tobacco will be spent on other goods.

Also, the grocery tax cut would help mitigate the increase in food prices. Maybe it doesn't hurt the rich, but the poor and the working class are feeling it. Milk has climbed to four dollars a gallon! Bread and cereal have shot up. Beef prices have gone up (Thanks to that idiotic ethanol boondoggle, which has greatly increased the price of corn.). This tax cut would give a little relief to the hard-working people of Mississippi.

Don't get me wrong. I would love to see an income tax cut. And an income tax cut would benefit me a lot more than the grocery sales tax cut. So I've got a solution: Eliminate the grocery sales tax and cut income taxes. But if you have to choose, eliminate the grocery sales tax first. The tax is just too much of a burden on the hard-working people of Mississippi (for how crushing the burden is on the poor and working class, check out the data on http://www.cbpp.org/.).

I can't understand why Bryant is supporting the Governor on this. Is he that desperate to be Haley's robot?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mississippi Needs Mike Sumrall As State Auditor

It is very rare when Mississippi has a candidate for State Auditor who wants to take politics out of the State Auditor's office. But Mike Sumrall is that very rare candidate.

Let's look at the record since 1984, when long-serving State Auditor W. Hamp King stepped down. He was the last State Auditor who kept politics out of the Office of State Audit (hereafter abbreviated as OSA). His successor, Ray Mabus (1984-1988), used it as a successful launching pad for Governor. After him came Pete Johnson (1988-1992). He was elected as a Democrat, became a Republican in late 1988, and unsuccessfully ran for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 1991. After him came Steve Patterson (1992-Nov. 1996), who was going to use it for an eventual run for Governor or Lt. Governor. And finally, Phil Bryant (Nov. 1996 to present) used the OSA as a launching pad for his run for Lt. Governor. All of those four auditors used the OSA as a political fiefdom.

Mike Sumrall knows the inner workings of the OSA. It is true he is NOT a CPA. But he is the ONLY candidate with an accounting degree. He has twenty-three years auditing experience with the OSA, three years as County Administrator and CFO of Forrest County and two years as business manager of Pike County Schools. As you can see, he has experience in state, county and school audits and financial accounting. Add it up: That's twenty-eight years of accounting and auditing experience of government.

Sumrall wants to take politics out of the OSA. He has vowed not to seek higher office. He plans to serve as State Auditor and stay in that post. By taking politics out of the office, audits will be thorough and fair. They will not be designed to advance the political ambitions of anyone--especially the State Auditor. He knows what improvements are needed in that office. Since he has experience in that office, he knows what needs to be done. He will be ready the day he takes the oath of office. He is also well-liked and respected. I know former employees who worked in the OSA and they think very highly of Sumrall.

I was delighted to see him garner 46% of the vote yet spending only $11000 in the first primary for the Democratic nomination. I have nothing against his runoff opponent. But he does not seem to know anything about auditing and he'll probably seek higher office should he be elected. Also, he would be a decided underdog against the GOP nominee. Sumrall's anti-politics stand will resonate with a lot of Mississippians in the general election.

If you are a Democrat, please vote for Mike Sumrall on August 28th. As a CPA, I can tell you he is the most qualified man to run for State Auditor in decades. At long last, the man and the office have met. Mississippi desperately needs Mike Sumrall as our State Auditor.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Why Charlie Ross Lost

Charlie Ross ran a good campaign. But from the very day he announced, he had a steep uphill fight. He received a little over 43% of the vote in a hard-hitting contest. After reading all the newspaper articles and blogs on the race, here are the reasons as to why he lost:

1. Phil Bryant was running for the Lt. Governor's post from the day he was reelected as State Auditor in 2003. He had contacts in all eighty-two counties and it paid off. He was able to get commitments of support early in the race. When he announced his candidacy, his machine was ready to roll. Charlie Ross did not have that early start.

2. Bryant is a smooth and polished stump speaker. As much as I despise Bryant, he is a very good stump speaker. He may have nothing to say, but he says it with force. This is in sharp contrast to Charlie Ross' professorial speeches. Ross was very intelligent and made some very good speeches with good substance. But listening to Charlie Ross was like listening to a seminar on the Alternative Minimum Tax at the Mississippi Tax Institute.

3. Bryant is a charmer. Let's face it: Bryant has a dynamic personality. He can charm birds out of the trees (like Bill Clinton). Ross is not a charmer but he is a very sincere and honorable person. Unless you knew him, he would come off as shy and retiring.

4. Billy Mounger's TV ad endorsing Bryant was a big help. Mounger is a big name in conservative and GOP circles. His endorsement blunted Ross' charge that Bryant was not conservative enough for GOPers.

5. The TV ad on Bryant's support for the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi was meant to show what a liberal Bryant was (and in my opinion, still is). Unfortunately, it backfired among Republican suburban women, who were bitterly against "Big Tobacco" and thought the PHM was a great idea. Bryant had very strong support among the Republican "Soccer Moms." Ross did better among men than women.

6. Ross never ripped Bryant on his abysmal record as State Auditor. I heard rumors Ross was going to use the findings of the PEER report to rip Bryant. Believe me, he even could have tied Bryant to the failed (moooo) beef plant. But nothing ever came out of it.

7. Before he ran for Lt. Governor, Ross had very little name recognition. Unless you were a Rankin County resident or a political junkie, chances are you never hear of Ross. It is tough to win a campaign when you have little name recognition.

8. Ross was way behind as early as April. www.cottonmouthblog.blogspot had an MAE poll showing Ross way behind in April. If you allocate the undecideds, Bryant was leading by more than a 2-1 margin. It is very difficult to make up such a deficit in just four months.

9. The GOP believes in rewarding one of their own for winning the big offices. Bryant was the only GOPer to win a statewide office in 1999 (Although I believe Rod Nixon could have defeated him if Nixon had started campaigning right after Bryant became State Auditor in late 1996.). A lot of GOP activists believe Bryant has "paid his dues" and it was time for the GOP to pay him back. (Look, the GOP nominated Dr. Moo for MDAC Commissioner. Many GOPers felt he was courageous for switching parties after the beef plant scandal and thus renominated him.)

Many people feel Ross' negative ads hurt him. I very strongly disagree. Indeed, I think the ads immensely helped him. When you are the underdog and your opponent has few visible negatives, you have no choice to go negative. The only way you are going to defeat the favorite is by showing the glaring negatives of that candidate. Ross did have some positive ads, but that was not going to get him elected. He had to go for the jugular. What did he have to lose? I thought Ross wasn't negative enough. I would have gone mau-mau against Bryant. Yeah, it would have turned some people off. But it would have made the favorite look like Satan. I've seen candidates go mau-mau and the underdog gets the tar beaten out of him. On the other hand, I have seen some very shocking upsets. The object is to win, not hold hands with your opponent and sing "Kuumbaya."

Ross was an excellent candidate and would have made one of the best Lt. Governors the state has had in a long time. He knew the workings of the State Senate much better than his opponent and accomplished much in his eight years as State Senator. Hopefully, he will seek office again. We need his caliber in government.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Observations from Charlie Ross' Party Last Night

I got to Corky's in Flowood at 6:56PM and left at 10:36PM. I left just after Charlie Ross conceded defeat to the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor.

When I got there, it was a fairly lively get-together. They were all talking on how it was a close race but Ross would pull it off. Because there would be no results coming in for an hour, I was able to mingle with the crowd. They said it was a tough campaign and Ross had been trailing throughout the entire campaign. But now the momentum was swinging Ross' way and he would be nominated. They told me their polls had it neck-and-neck and the momentum would lead them to victory. Despite their optimism, I had a gut feeling it didn't look good. I saw independent polls showing Ross trailing 50%-40% with 10% undecided. With the undecideds allocated, Ross would get 44% of the vote.

Around 8PM, the first precinct came in and Ross was trailing, 58-50. I knew this was one lousy precinct, but I had a gut feeling Ross was going to lose (I wrote in my diary Monday night Ross would get 44% of the vote.). I did an analysis of prior GOP primaries and general elections. In 96.8% of the time, whoever was leading when the first report came that candidate would win.

A while later, a second report with 3% of the statewide vote showed Ross trailing 1355-1286. It was still close and a lot of folks were hoping Ross would win. The next four reports showed it close, but Ross was still trailing in every one of them.

Then came the body blow. With 27% of the vote, Ross was trailing 27021-20989. I knew right then it was all over. I had a staffer come up to me and ask how the vote totals were going and the trend. I told her Ross lost. She told me the Coast and DeSoto County hadn't come in. I told her it was all over. Around 10PM, with 43% of the vote, Ross was trailing 48162-37372. I overheard a staffer say on his cell phone he was still waiting for the Coast. But having been through many a campaign, I knew it was all over.

There were about a hundred or so people there. While most of them are going to vote for the GOP nominee, many of them are going to either sit it out and not vote for Bryant or do like me and vote for Jamie Franks. I would say 80% to 85% will vote for Bryant. But Franks is going to get quite a few of the remainder. These were not your run-of-the-mill GOPers who like to go to parties and schmooze with people and the candidate. These are die-hard Republicans who are foot soldiers and spear carriers for the conservative movement and the GOP. These are the types who give the small bucks and the sweat equity in the campaign. I noticed there were some very well-heeled GOPers in the crowd. But I saw a lot of average Joes and Janes who are dedicated to the conservative movement. They do not look at Bryant as a spear carrier for the movement. They look at him as a pretty boy who cares only for his own political ambitions. I had one very strong conservative say, "If this were San Francisco, Phil Bryant would be the Grand Marshall of the Gay Pride Parade. He'd do or say anything to get elected." Having a good minority of die-hard, spear-carrying conservatives sit out the race or cast a ballot for Franks does not sit well for Bryant. I know the Philbots will strongly disagree, but I was there. Many of the people there look upon Bryant as a "country club conservative" and not a "Main Street conservative." Anybody who knows the GOP knows there is a deep distrust and animus between the two groups. My opinion of country club Republicans would never be printed in the BAPTIST RECORD.

Why isn't Bryant going to get a higher percentage? Many of them have a bitter dislike for him. I heard one man Bryant had nothing but a big ego. A couple told me Bryant was an empty suit. Some of them knew him on a personal level and didn't like him one bit. One lady said all he could do was talk about "Me, me, me. He didn't give a flying flip about me or what I thought." Others told me they think Bryant is too slick. I will not print some of the profanity (not from me, despite my deep dislike for Bryant) that was used to describe Bryant.

Gov. Haley Barbour proclaimed neutrality throughout the campaign, but unless you were a space alien from the planet Qantarius you could tell whom he was backing. He arrived at the party at 8PM and was still there when I left. Indeed, he was on the podium when Ross gave his concession speech. Also, his brother Jeppy was Ross' campaign manager.

Charlie Ross gave a good concession speech. He asked everybody to get behind Bryant in the general election. I carefully observed the crowd (I was at a great vantage point. I was right near the door facing the crowd.) and their reaction. I saw some of them sigh and quite a few of them were rolling their eyes. Most of them gave polite applause when he said we had to get behind Bryant so Barbour would have someone to help shepherd his goals through the State Legislature. Ross said he would always be a "wing man" for Barbour.

After that, I headed to the parking lot. I had to get up early in the morning and go to work. Later on, I'll write on my observations as to why Ross lost and what Jamie Franks should do to win in November.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Please Vote for Charlie Ross for Lt. Governor

Tomorrow is Election Day. The vote for Lt. Governor is the most important statewide vote in the GOP primary. There are two candidates running: State Senator Charlie Ross and State Auditor Phil Bryant.

Charlie Ross is a man of uncompromising honor and integrity. You will always know where he stands. He may be a boring speaker and has a shy, retiring personality. However, what he says makes sense and he knows what he is talking about. He is also a very intelligent man. Plus, he gave up some good years of his life to serve his nation in the Armed Forces. He has the ability to get along with ordinary people and with his fellow State Senators.

And then we have Phil Bryant. Bryant is a good stump speaker and is pretty (He probably gets his hair coiffed at Monique's.). But that's about it. I had the experience of serving with him on the Rankin County Republican Executive Committee and I had first-hand experience in dealing with him. He is vain, egotistical, vindictive, thin-skinned, petty, hot-tempered and a liar. He has no political principles except those that will advance his political career. If this were Vermont, Charlie Ross would still be a conservative and probably suffer the political consequences. But Bryant would make Howard Dean look like a flaming right-winger. Bryant's sole goal is himself and his name in lights. As Worf would say on "Star Trek--the Next Generation": He is without honor.

Tomorrow, vote for a man of honor and a candidate who has ALWAYS been a conservative. Please vote for Charlie Ross.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Phil Bryant--Is He Emotionally Mature to Be Elected Lt. Governor?

This coming Tuesday, GOP voters will have to decide whom they wish to nominate as Lt. Governor. Will they nominate a mature, honorable man such as Charlie Ross or an immature person such as Phil Bryant? There are many reasons, in my opinion, why Phil Bryant is not emotionally mature to be Lt. Governor. And here they are:

1. He has a red-hot, violent temper. Read my article on the way he ran the State Department of Audit. He trashed employees' coffee mugs, screamed at staffers and reduced many a clerk to tears from his outrages. He has had an 88% turnover in his office because of his violent temper.
2. He has an overly inflated ego. If you are going to run for office, you have to have an ego. That is expected. But Bryant has a gigantic ego. Back on October 13, 1989, I had lunch with Bryant. He told me "Destiny has called him" to run for office in 1991. He was undecided as to running for State Senator, State Representative or Sheriff. But he was going to run for something. After all, he must fulfill his "destiny."
3. He is vindictive. It is no secret Bryant and I don't care for one another. But in politics, you never mess with a private citizen's profession. Right after he became State Auditor, his office called one of my clients and asked her a lot of questions about my morals and character. She was shocked she was called and was surprised at the rude manner of the caller. I have no reason why his office called. I do know in the accounting profession you can lose your CPA license if "you commit acts discreditable to the profession." If he was looking for any scandal he didn't find any.
4. He is petty. Back on June 14, 1999, I told one of his Republican buddies I would vote for Democrat Rod Nixon over Bryant because Nixon was pro-life from the start and Bryant was pro-life only to get elected. His good buddy must have blabbed, because on June 16th I received a very nasty letter from Phil the Pill. In the fourth paragraph of the letter he wrote, "As a CPA, I am certain you realize the importance of gathering all the facts before issuing an opinion. To do less would be unprofessional and could result in material misrepresentation." The idiot didn't understand his friend. I did NOT SAY he was pro-abortion now. I said he STARTED his political career as pro-abortion. I knew he voted pro-life in the State House not because of conviction, but because he would never be elected in Mississippi as a pro-abort.
5. He is very thin-skinned. But here is my question. Why waste your time and effort to write a venomous letter to a private citizen because you were criticized? There is something grossly immature about such a person. If you are in politics, you'd better have a very thick political skin. As Harry Truman once said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."
6. He has no firm political convictions, but is a political chameleon. When he wanted to be the interim Rankin County Supervisor in District 2 back in 1988, he wrote Gov. Ray Mabus stating "I have always been a Democrat." But he decided to run as a Republican for the post. He started out as being pro-abortion, but became pro-life only to save his political hide. He says to north Mississippi he's opposed to gambling, but goes to the Gulf Coast and says he supports it. He was gung-ho for the liberal Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi, but now says he was opposed to it. He's for strong local government, but proposed the ridiculous idea in his 1999 campaign to "abolish some counties." (Maybe he wants to combine Hinds County with Rankin County.) Believe me, if he was running for Lt. Governor of Vermont, he'd make Howard Dean look like ex-Sen. Jesse Helms.
7. He is a liar. He told me the day after he was elected to the State House in 1991 he would go all out to make certain I would get another term on the Rankin County Republican Executive Committee. He gave me his solemn word. He expressed his gratitude for the contributions the RCREC gave him in his close race to unseat an incumbent. In April 1992, he worked very hard to defeat me. I didn't mind being defeated; I mind being lied to.
8. Because he lives only for politics and nothing else, he is a poor manager. I have written extensively on how poorly the OAS has been run under his ten years. The office would be used as a political fiefdom rather than being an effective audit function of government. Don't take my word for it. Read more details on it on http://www.cottonmouthblog.blogspot.com/.

If Bryant is elected, he will have to preside over 52 State Senators who have pretty good egos of their own. Do you think they are going to put up with his antics? What if he doesn't get his way? Is he going to blow his stack and yell at a State Senator or two? If he's as conservative as he alleges and will be a poodle to Haley, will he blow his stack at Senators who don't vote his way? What happens if a State Senator responds and gives Bryant a piece of his mind? Will Bryant go ballistic on him (or her)?

Charlie Ross has been a State Senator for ten years and has worked well with his colleagues. He has accomplished a lot for the conservative cause. He has the maturity and the intelligence to be an excellent Lt. Governor.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Phil Bryant Is No Conservative

Phil Bryant has been stating how great a conservative he has been. Has he? Let's take a GOOD LOOK at him. Here are my reasons he is no conservative:

1. He has served on the liberal Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi. For years he was on the Board of Directors of this group that spent money on some liberal causes. This PHM was former State Attorney General Mike Moore's brainchild.
2. He started out his political activity as a pro-abortion advocate. When he ran against Frances Savage in 1991, he suddenly became pro-life. The Mississippi Right to Life spotted a phony when they saw one and gave their endorsement to Charlie Ross.
3. Charlie Ross got the endorsement of the National Rifle Association. What a shock. Bryant was not a person 2nd Amendment folks could look for on leadership. It was Ross who helped legislate the Castle Doctrine. When the MERIDIAN STAR interviewed Bryant, he didn't even so much as mention guns (Check out www.cottonmouthblog.blogspot.com for the details.).
4. Phil Bryant is no fiscal conservative. True, he voted against tax hikes when he was in the State House. But once he was State Auditor, he wasted money by not thoroughly watching over the $55 million Beef Plant (mooooo) fiasco. There were other instances of wasting the taxpayer's money I have written on my blog about Bryant.
5. When all five Rankin County Supervisors resigned in 1988 because of financial improprieties, Gov. Ray Mabus was forced to appoint five new Supervisors. Phil Bryant applied for the vacancy in District 2. A source told me back then Bryant wrote a letter to Mabus stating "that I have always been a Democrat" in the attempt to get the appointment. Indeed, in the runoff between Larry Swales (the winner) and Bryant for that Supervisor's seat, Bryant was considered the more liberal of the two candidates.
6. Bryant said it was a mistake for Republicans to not fully fund public education. While we conservatives believe in a strong public education, there is also a lot of fat in the budget (too many administrators). Would he cut the fat? Or would he raise taxes? I think he would do the latter.
7. Bryant believes in strong county government. But in his 1999 race for State Auditor, his Democratic opponent Rod Nixon attacked him for proposing some counties be abolished so government could be more efficient. Ross might want to ask Bryant what counties he would like to see abolished. If that were to happen, where would there be strong local control over their government if their county was abolished?

Phil Bryant is no conservative although he portrays himself as one in this race. Charlie Ross has been conservative from Day One in his political career. Ross has principles; Bryant is a political chameleon. Bryant would do or say anything to get elected.