HARRISON: Frierson draws ire and praise for preparing for budget ramifications of education initiative.


BY: Bobby Harrison | Daily Journal

Now, granted there is a fine line in ascertaining the correct tax policy for any governmental entity – federal , state or local governments. Perhaps it could be agued that if the Mississippi Legislature had not passed those tax breaks that state revenue would have grown by even less, resulting in even less money to spend on education.

But it should be pointed out that a key member of the House leadership – Appropriations Chairman Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville, has raised a warning flag about many of the tax breaks. Just last week, when it was pointed out to his Appropriations Committee that revenue would be reduced $125 million in fiscal year 2017 because of the business inventory tax credit, he said he told members there were consequences of their actions and this was a consequence. Frierson said he supports tax cuts and believes that they can spur future growth, but that must be weighed against current needs.

This was the same Frierson who was praised last week as a hero by opponents of the citizen-sponsored initiative to enhance funding for the kindergarten through 12th grade education system.

Frierson drew the ire of supporters of the initiative when he took the unusual step of asking state agency heads to provide a scenario of how they would reduce their budgets 7.8 percent for the next fiscal year, starting July 1 – presumably the amount needed to fully fund education if the initiative passes in November.

Many opponents of the initiative, including the governor, the Republican leadership of the Legislature and some in the media, praised Frierson for his responsible action.

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