The Trump administration is implementing policies which will allow states to impose work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries, and I expect they will soon consider implementing drug testing requirements too. This is a major policy shift on the federal level which I support. Because most of these benefits are derived from federal funds and administered through the state, until the Trump administration, we have been prevented from implementing effective and widespread requirements; however, now we can move forward to require that those who receive welfare and are able to work, do so, and are drug free.
The Office of the Mississippi Attorney General has a history of circumventing the legislative appropriation process and using settlement money from the virtually limitless lawsuits filed by that office to fund pet programs without legislative enactment. Years ago, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the Attorney General improperly directed unappropriated public funds for The Partnership. Unfortunately, this abuse of power appears to be happening again. The Attorney General and the State Treasurer have together attempted to divert, without legislative authority, settlement funds to yet another unauthorized pet program, Financial Literacy. Regardless of the merits of either pet program, our elected officials have to follow the law when it comes to spending taxpayers’ money. Our next Attorney General must end this cycle of abuse.
Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana have the Lottery. Because of this, millions of dollars are being spent by Mississippians in those states to educate their children and fix their roads and bridges. I believe Mississippi should have the Lottery so that the millions of dollars currently being spent by Mississippians on the Lottery in other states will be spent in Mississippi to educate our children and fix our roads and bridges.
Government doesn’t have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. With this in mind, since Republicans gained a majority in the Mississippi Legislature, we have engaged in a systematic performance based approach to funding government. We have implemented historic tax cuts, reduced spending and reduced the size of state government. We must continue to transition from a tax system that relies predominately on income and property taxes to one weighted more to consumption taxes which by nature is more fair and inclusive for all Mississippians.