So, while we’re talking about essential services. . .

Education (35%) and health care (25%) rate as the two largest items within our $6 billion state budget. Those percentage are likely to remain the same until our income outpaces the rate of inflation. (Currently, our economy has grown at -.5% for 2017–if one can call that growth.)

I’m not interested in placing the blame for these problems at anyone’s feet. But the only ways to reduce the percentage of our budget dedicated to education and health are to cut schools and services, or to figure out ways to stimulate the economy, so that the amounts dedicated to education and health stay flat, but their percentage of the budget falls. The Republican answer to stimulating the economy is to cut taxes. The success of this tactic is debatable. What alternatives do you see?

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24 Responses to So, while we’re talking about essential services. . .

  1. Aurelia Caine says:

    I wouldn’t call that -.5% growth at all. But I do agree with the ways to reduce the percentage our budget to education and health. The Republican answer could be right, but at the same time I do see its flaws. They could list pros and cons on the tactic all day, but we won’t be able to really know its true impact without testing it out.

  2. Stephanie Dauber says:

    There is no real way to cut education and health care without seeing serious repercussions to already under-funded school systems or poorly staffed state hospitals. I think the only way to really stimulate our AMAZING growth would be to state pumping money into the state through Public Works programs (like fixing the roads, repairing dilapidated state buildings) so that the people can get work. Once people get back to work, they’ll have more money to be able to increase their standard of living (Mississippi has one of the lowest in the country). OR maybe the thousands of churches within the state can pay taxes? That may help? Why are the exempt at all?

    • Kamal Bhalla says:

      I full heartedly agree. It doesn’t make sense that we haven’t begun to help with the Public Works program when so much damage can be seen everywhere. If there is not money to fix that problem, then that money can come from those multitude of churches anywhere you go in Mississippi. If we taxed those countless churches, think of how much money the state could gain? A whole lot!!

  3. Sara Kostmayer says:

    Mississippi tends to be lowest/worst when it comes to country-wide surveys in many different areas, education certainly being one of them. Cutting funds for education would be a crushing blow not only to the children and students of today, but also to the future of the state. Health care in and of itself is a tricky topic all over the country. The rising costs of both insurance and medical procedures/check ups leave Mississippi’s “middle class” in a very frightening place. Cutting both of these parts of our budget could be detrimental to the state entirely, possibly pushing those who do live here to leave.

    Obviously there is no easy answer or no quick scheme to fix the state of our economy. However, Republican proposed tax cuts do not seem to be a logical or even morally right route of repair. The inequality of income throughout the country is very large, and while that does make sense for the way that the country is run, it does not necessarily mean it is a good thing. On cut that has already been implemented elsewhere and nationwide is cutting of income taxes for the wealthy. By doing this, the revenue from the taxes cut is completely taken away, and any benefit that may be received from maybe more wealthy moving here would in no way be able to make up for what was lost. Tax cutting seems more like an ignorantly-supported theory than something of substance. It may sound like a good idea, but is has more benefit for large companies, the 1%, and others than it does for middle and lower class citizens of both the state and the country.

  4. Harlynn Robinson says:

    You cannot feasibly cut the funding to schools and healthcare without serious repercussions. The state of those two branches of infrastructure is already sad. Tax cuts while an option, haven’t worked out historically and are morally questionable. Looking at the past I see deficit spending by the government into income stimulating programs to be the best course of action.

  5. Sabrina Solomon says:

    My question is: if spending for education and health care is continuously chosen as the place to cut budgets, then what happens when our state can not afford the necessary costs for these infrastructures? Why not instead increase the budget – knowing that if we increase spending we bring in more people who will in turn bring in income – so that we may have the best of the best instead of the worst of the worst? If budget was increased for just one hospital to bring in the best doctor there is, wouldn’t we bring more patients that pay money in? If we increased the pay of teachers, wouldn’t more teachers want to teach here and eventually raise a family? More money going out, more money coming in. I know this is a bunch of what ifs, and I know that its quite impossible; however, what if we did? I personally know that I eventually become a state legislator for Mississippi, and I know that may main goal would be to increase spending on these things so that state income would increase too.

  6. Kayla Patel says:

    I would not call -.5% growth. I hope that one no one would. The solutions that have been presented have their pros and cons, but we won’t know the outcome until they are brought into the real world and tested.

  7. Devon M says:

    A -.5% is not growth. The American economy is slowly deteriorating and is not benefiting anyone. It is hard to find an alternative that pleases all parties and people involved, which is why it is so tricky to hold a government position at this time in America.

  8. Kendall Wells says:

    This is difficult to approach because as said above, cutting education or healthcare would be detrimental to the state. There are so many “what ifs” involved. In this situation, I’d agree with Steph’s suggestion and say that maybe putting more money into public works programs would increase the number of jobs while improving our roads, bridges, etc.

  9. Yousef Abu-Salah says:

    The list of alternatives is very slim at the moment. If we choose to cut education and healthcare, it would be absolutely determined to the welfare of our state due to our already infamous education system. Our economy has not grown, and I will be ignoring the .5%. That is not growth at all but merely an excuse for our state to feel that progress is being made. By reiterating the sentiment that Stephanie had said, I do believe that we should tax the multitude of churches that are sprawled across our state. They do not deserve to be exempt from this, and it would provide our state with an immense money resource for more growth. Also, I feel that many of our education funds that are being pumped into the schools of our state are not truly being utilized for their true potential. We would not have to change anything if our state truly put all of these funds into actual education and learning rather than football programs or tracks that will never truly be needed. These new football and track facilities will not matter if the school itself possesses no true talents of either sport (ehem: Northwest Rankin High). By diverting our education funds into actual education, we can effectively lower these percentages. However, this is also risky in itself. Also, cutting taxes would only cause more strife for our state, because it could lead a wide variety of outcomes that no one could truly predict. Overall, this is a very sensitive issue that does not a true alternative that would solve all the problems at the moment.

  10. Mary Owings says:

    Ultimately, tax cutting most frequently leads to an increase in economic inequality. This is extremely detrimental as reducing the middle class means money in the hands of the rich upper class. This money most definitely does not circulate back into the economy efficiently due to a lack of spending. Therefore, it would be most supportive to the middle class to minimize any cuts to education or health care, as these areas produce future thriving citizens. Raising the minimum wage could strongly influence the middle class by strengthening those already in it and bringing lower earners to the middle class. This increase in the middle class would leave to a circulation of money back into the economy.

  11. John Bowlin says:

    A -.5% ‘growth’ is not a growth by any means. The economy is slowly going down hill. There are ways to reduced the percentage our budget to education and health. The Republican way seems to be a good way but I feel like there would be more cons to this than pros. Then again how can you know if it has never been tried. Exempting people from taxes is not the way to go either. That is money that could be added to the percentage. Also, I agree with what Yousef said about how our budget is not being utilized to its full potential. There’s money just being wasted where it could be spent better elsewhere.

  12. Shuchi Patel says:

    A -0.5% rate is definitely not a growth. Cutting taxes should be the last “solution.” A possible alternative could be taxing the wealthy more; it is not as if most of these individuals use their wealth wisely. Also, large cities have individuals pay their parking tickets via text message; most individuals do not pay because of how difficult it is.

  13. Samuel Patterson III says:

    Raise Taxes, Raise Taxes, and Raise Taxes. Then use that money to stimulate the economy. It worked under Ronnie Musgrove and it will work today. Mississippi has no reason not meet revenue predictions. Having access to the sea, bearing the name of one of the busiest rivers in the hemisphere, holding some of the most fertile soil in the world, and possessing ample amounts of timber, Mississippi is set to be an economic powerhouse. However, we rather elect conservative politicians that cut taxes and impose offensive social laws that scare away business and people. Blame is well deserved to be given to the governor, Phil Bryant, and on down the line. Taxing churches isn’t the way to go because it will bring the church and state closer than it already is. Raising taxes will ensure that all programs are adequately funded and the economy has a catalyzing agent if needed.

  14. Leigh Motes says:

    The economy is bad, and it is only going to get worse. There is not real way to fix the economy until the government establishes what their priorities are and then go from there. Then when there is solution to the problem, it will be hard to test the solution out. However, there will be no way to tell if the problem has been fixed until it is tested.

  15. Anna Smith says:

    The Keynesian Equation suggests that when the economy declines, the best way to stabilize it is to increase government spending and force the government into more debt to stimulate general growth. That is a national concept, though. Naturally, the more money people have to spend the more they should spend. On the other hand, when the government needs funds to push into projects such as education and health care, they turn immediately to taxes. Cutting taxes will not stimulate the economy in this sense. American people tend to find it less than important to invest in things that do not directly relate to them, especially when impoverished. To make the people happy would be to cut taxes. To stimulate the economy would be to increase government spending. To preserve education and health care would be to increase the budget. On a 1:2 ratio, it seems that the answer would be not to cut taxes. I think that that concept applies not only on a national level, but also on the state level.

  16. P. Patel says:

    The state is only putting its future at risk by wanting to cut school budgets. If they cut school budgets than how is the state going to expect its citizens to give back when they get older. Also, another thing that they should not do is to lower tax. If the state lowers tax, then how will the state improve other necessitates and fund schools?

  17. Darby Meadows says:

    As much as everyone hates it, I think another solution would be to raise taxes. Citizens don’t like paying taxes; however, it puts more money into circulation which would increase government spending. That way, more money could be allotted to the state budget which would prevent the cuts that are being made to schools and services.

  18. AK Mynatt says:

    What if we just cut the stack of money government officials are sitting on down?

  19. Landry Filce says:

    I believe that healthcare and education are correct to be our state’s two top priorities. Studies consistently show that Mississippi lags behind almost every other state in those two categories, and we must focus as much of our energy & resources on combating these deficiencies as we can afford. Brainstorming should be encouraged in this process, however, the Republican solution of cutting taxes does not make any logical sense. How can we be sure that the money our state loses through lowering taxes will still go towards the economic development of the state? The wealthy, especially in our state, do not seem to care too much about the well-being of their less fortunate counterparts. The only way that we can be sure to help ourselves is by increasing taxes on the consistently historically under-taxed upper class.

  20. Mariat Thankachan says:

    Means to support healthcare and education are pressing topics in today’s society because they are both extremely important or else our community would fall apart. It makes sense that the government makes these topics a priority and tries to come up with ways to keep them a priority. It is true that cutting taxes would make it more flexible for people to unleash investments, create more jobs and rapid growth. These cuts will eventually be paid back with more taxes, so it could probably stimulate the economy.

  21. Liam McDougal says:

    A lot of people are hypocritical with what they want their taxes to go to. Republicans would rather roll over in their grave than fund the murder of an Innocent Young Fetus, yet they’re fine with their tax money funding a $2 trillion, 16 year long war that has had debatable results. I do think that we need to cut more funding on our military and instead redirect it to healthcare and education. We are already lacking in both areas compared to the rest of the developed world, and we are FAR more superior in terms of military, so much that I do believe that the military could stand a funding cut. The Republican government has suggested, and are attempting to implement, a new system called trickle-down economics that I believe is foolish. This gives tax cuts to the wealthy, assuming that because they have more money, they will be able to give more to their workers. The thing is, these people in the top 1% already have incredible amounts of money, and are absolutely able to distribute it to their workers, while still maintaining enough money to live very, very happily. I do not think that the government can incentivise these people in the 1% to distribute the money, and it will just result in a further income gap.

  22. Sarah Swiderski says:

    The only alternative I see is raising taxes.
    Of course, this is a long shot, especially with a Republican majority in the Senate.
    I could see cuts in the budget for education, unfortunately, occurring in the future based off of the recent cuts in the MSMS budget.
    Granted, Mississippi has never been much of a trendsetter, but there’s a first for everything.

  23. Micah Robinson says:

    I’m not good with politics, money or math, but I do understand that there is a problem. Or rather multiple problems. In history, remember that to fix an economy typical either deficit spending is needed or a tragedy to shock factories back in order. But since we are already tunneling further in dept and we’ve in a war for almost twenty years I think we’ve exhausted all our options. The best way I guess is push the federal government to take over Mississippi budget and try to fix it. If that is not a solution then sorry but I have no idea how this economy can breath again.

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