“Everyone Else Is Doing It!”: Mississippi Economics And The Betrayal Of Principles

The Mississippi Legislative Session is full speed ahead and they have broken out the credit card, also known as bonds, to rack up more debt for taxpayers.

You have already heard about HB1, the special economic package that will borrow $274 million dollars and funnel it to private business. There is a great explanation of HB1 on the Americans for Prosperity Facebook page, but I will give you the short version in as few words as possible.

Basically, we will add $274 million to our bond debt that already exceeds 4 BILLION in order to give the majority of the funds to a successful German-based tire company, Continental. In exchange, Continental will build a tire plant in Hinds County. There is $11 million going to a Gulfport company to fulfill a HUD commitment.

I don’t know about you, but I was unaware that as a taxpayer, I was also delegating out my right to invest my own money.

Our elected officials have taken on the role of investment bankers, and with little to no research or thought, put our money into the companies that they deem good investments.

They received a close to 200-page bill that would authorize the borrowing of these funds on the day that they were to vote on it. It passed. In fact, only three Senators voted against the bill. Sen. John Polk [R], Sen. Chris McDaniel [R], and Sen. Deborah Dawkins [D] all voted nay and Sen. Briggs Hopson [R] is listed as not voting. In the House, Rep. Joel Bomgar [R], Rep. Stephen Horne [R], and Rep. William Shirley [R] voted nay and Rep. Ashley Henley [R] is listed as not voting.

I have always been of the mindset that a hasty decision will oftentimes lead to a disastrous and wasteful outcome. If your Senator or House Representative wasn’t listed above, they made a quick decision on a very large investment for taxpayers.

Our elected officials are already giving excuses as to why they voted in favor of HB1. I honestly believe that they feel that we, as small and uninformed folks, do not know what we—or obviously they—are talking about.

We, apparently, do not have all the information that they have and therefore cannot speak intelligently about this subject. It is apparently irrelevant that they cannot provide the missing information that would provide this much needed clarity.

Another reason for the vote is that this is, well, just the way things are done. That rationale makes me think of a teenager who has just come home and told me, “Mom, everyone else is doing it,” as justification for his or her bad behavior.

Regardless of the reasons for supporting this massive bond, the excuses do not justify the act.

The bottom line is that this is borrowed money that we will pay interest on. How many of you see wisdom in borrowing money to give away?

This is not a piece of legislation that a conservative should support and it is on this particular thought that I feel the most betrayed. How do you run for office and campaign as a conservative and then vote like a liberal? How can some of these supporters of the move call themselves conservatives and then continue to pile on massive amounts of debt for our children to bear the burden of? Do they even know what a conservative is?

We continue to be misled and betrayed, Mississippi. The time is here to say enough is enough.

Remember their votes—and hold them accountable.


Katherine DeCoito

Katherine DeCoito

Katherine DeCoito is a wife and mother of four, and was a candidate for State Senate in the 2015 GOP primary. She is an active member of the community and lifelong Gulf Coast resident. She and husband David are small business owners in Gulfport, MS.
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