Reeves makes line-item vetoes to final bill of the 2022 Legislative Session

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File – Copyright 2020. The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
The Governor says the vetoed spending is not the responsibility of state taxpayers.
Governor Tate Reeves has chosen to partially veto the final bill of the 2022 Legislative session. HB 1353, a budget bill, made several different appropriations to special projects. Reeves indicated he did not agree with all of the expenditures which resulted in the partial veto.
“Government should be in the business of attempting to steward taxpayer money responsibly to projects of great importance,” said Reeves regarding the vetoes.
Line-Item Vetoes:

$1 million to build a parking lot at the Jackson Convention Center.
$1 million to the Scenic River Development for their golf course.
$250,000 to Briarwood Pool.
$2 million for the City of Jackson Planetarium.
$500,000 to the City of Greenville for green space next to the Federal Courthouse.
$13.25 million for, among other things, a golf park and trail at LeFleur’s Bluff.
$1 million to the City of Pascagoula to assist with renovations of city offices.
$50,000 to Arise and Shine, Inc. in Copiah County.
$200,000 to Summit Community Development Foundation for costs associated with the Stand Pipe project.
$7.5 million in earmarks that would be distributed to private companies through the Mississippi Development Authority without the normal financial/economic impact analysis.

In a Facebook post, Governor Reeves explained his veto decisions.

“We vetoed $14 million in golf course spending. I’ve been trying for a long time to get the state out of the golf course business. One of these projects was for a golf course that we already gave to another entity. The other was to revive a closed golf course in Jackson that is surrounded by three other publicly accessible golf courses within five miles. It’s just not a good investment when we have so many other critical needs,” said Reeves.
He said the $2 million set to go the planetarium falls in line with the Jackson City Council’s similar decision not to invest more money there.
“Jackson needs investment in safety. We need more police, not planetarium spending that has already proven to be wasteful. When we get that fully funded, we can consider luxury items,” said Reeves.

He went on to add that some spending in the bill is simply not the responsibility of the state taxpayers. This included line items dedicated to a privately-owned pool, green space around a federal courthouse, city office upgrades, and a parking lot for a convention center.
“I want to make sure you know why we make these decisions! It always makes people, even my friends, angry when we can’t spend on everything they want. But it’s important to be responsible with the money because it doesn’t belong to politicians—it is yours,” said Reeves. […]


President Biden appears set to cancel significant amount of federal student loan debt

Mississippi Governor Reeves calls it “fundamentally unfair and unwise.”
During the 2020 election, President Joe Biden (D) repeatedly said he was open to forgiving $10,000 per borrower in federal student loan debt.
With his polling in the dumps and the midterms approaching, reports this week now indicate that Biden may be willing to exceed that number, giving hope to Democrats who support the full forgiveness of the debts in their entirety.
The news prompted Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves to opine on the prospective federal debt cancellation by the President, writing on his Facebook page that the move would be “fundamentally unfair and unwise.” Reeves said those Mississippians without college degrees or who have paid their own way should not be forced to pay the debts for others.

“Mississippians without college degrees (or who paid off their debt) should not be forced to pay for the student loans of others,” Reeves wrote, going on to ask, “Why should people who chose not to go to college or chose to settle their own loans be punished for the benefit of those who made different decisions?”
Governor Reeves then noted the predatory nature of the student loan industry while firmly opposed to the idea of federal cancellation.
“The student loan machine is predatory. It should be held accountable,” Reeves opined. “But this is a fundamentally unfair and unwise way for the Biden administration to do it.”

The Biden Administration has continued the pause on student loan repayments began at the beginning of the pandemic, extending the latest restart date in May to September 2022.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said President Biden will decide on canceling student debt before the current extension of the pause expires or he may extend it further. […]


Reeves announces expansion of Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

The foundation focuses on finding adoptive homes for children in the Mississippi foster care system. 
Governor Tate Reeves today announced the expansion of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids.

Governor Reeves also ceremoniously signed HB 1313, which creates the “State Representative Bill Kinkade Fostering Access and Inspiring True Hope (or Faith) Scholarship Program.” This legislation provides a million dollars for foster children in Mississippi to pursue postsecondary education.
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is generously providing 1.7 million dollars and their training and support program to the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services. This unique public-private partnership will fund ten experienced adoption professionals to serve children and youth – including teenagers, special needs children, and siblings – who are at risk of aging out of foster care without a family.

To date, the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program has found adoptive homes for more than 12,000 children across the United States, including 125 youth right here in Mississippi.
“There are still too many Mississippi kids who need a loving family and a forever home, especially older teens who remain in foster care. We’ll continue to do everything we can to support children in foster care, find them loving homes, and give them the opportunity to succeed,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “We have a responsibility to ensure those children growing up in foster care have the opportunity to turn their struggles into strengths.”
Governor Reeves ceremoniously signed the legislation during a ceremony held at the Governor’s Mansion. The event was livestreamed and can be watched here. […]


Governor allows state officials’ pay raises to go into law without his signature

Insurance Commissioner, State Auditor will see a $60,000 increase after the next election cycle, the largest of the lot.
Last week, Governor Tate Reeves made his way through the last grouping of bills to be approved or vetoed from the 2022 Legislative session.
Original docket reports showed only one bill went into law without his signature. However, as of Tuesday morning, the state’s legislative site showed another bill that passed without his John Hancock.
HB 1426 went into law without the signature of Governor Reeves, a procedural move that relieves the Governor from signing every bill that becomes law.

That bill gives pay raises to all statewide elected officials, including the office of the Governor, after the next statewide election. It also accounts for roughly $370,000 of the state’s budget.
RELATED: Unless Governor Reeves vetoes it, Mississippi state elected officials could see pay raise after next election
The bill ensures significant pay raises, with a minimum raise for a state official totaling $17,000 to the Public Service and Transportation Commissioners and the largest raises going to the Insurance Commissioner and State Auditor with a $60,000 pay increase.
The raises are as follows: 

Governor – $122,160 to $160,000 – an increase of $37,840
Lt. Governor – $60,000 to $85,000 – an increase of $25,000
Speaker of the House – $60,000 to $85,000 – an increase of $25,000
Attorney General – $108,960 to $150,000 – an increase of $41,040
Secretary of State – $90,000 to $120,000 – an increase of $30,000
Insurance Commissioner – $90,000 to $150,000 – an increase of $60,000
Agriculture Commissioner – $90,000 to $120,000 – an increase of $30,000
State Treasurer – $90,000 to $120,000 – an increase of $30,000
State Auditor – $90,000 to $150,000 – an increase of $60,000
Public Service Commissioners – $78,000 to $95,000 – an increase of $17,000
Transportation Commissioners – $78,000 to $95,000 – an increase of $17,000

The bill also reduces the cap on the salary for certain state appointed officials, namely the heads of state agencies and the Governor’s Chief of Staff, lowering those salaries from a maximum of 150% of the salary of the Governor to 125%.
The final vote on the bill was 72 to 34 in the House and 46 to 3 in the Senate.
State Representative Becky Currie (R) was one of the 34 members in the House of Representatives to vote no on the bill.
“I voted no because some of the raises were too much,” said Currie. “I am glad that the Governor did not sign it, even if it goes into law. Notice there were no legislative pay raises because the people told us we knew what the job paid when we ran. So I assume that goes for everyone.”
The State Senate had proposed a pay increase for lawmakers but it ultimately died in the House. […]