The new analysis, compiled by Budget Director Debbie Rubisoff, is more in line with the position of the legislative leaders who for the first time in the state’s history pushed through a legislative alternative that will appear on the November ballot in direct competition with the citizens-sponsored Initiative 42.
When asked if she received “input or pressure to make those changes,” Rubisoff said in an e-mailed response, “The Legislative Budget Office works for the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. As I do with all major decisions, I consulted with the leaders of the committee in crafting the language.”
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee includes Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Speaker Philip Gunn and other legislative leaders, who have been some of the most vocal critics of Initiative 42. House Pro Tem Greg Snowden, R-Meridian, the primary author of the legislative alternative to Initiative 42, is a member of the Budget Committee.
Reeves, through a spokeswoman, defended the input of legislative leaders in the process.
“All of the members of that committee take an oath to represent the taxpayers and ensure they get the most honest information possible..,” said Reeves spokeswoman Laura Hipp. “The taxpayers elected the members of the Budget Committee to be their watchdogs and that’s a job they take seriously and one that they do not abdicate to others.”
Patsy Brumfield, communications director for 42 for Better Schools, said, of the legislate input, “This probably is against the law. And who authorized it?
“An official agency of the state of Mississippi is now advocating a position for an opponent of a political campaign… How can this be legal?”
The fiscal analysis is key because it will appear on the November ballot along with 20-word ballot title. The controversy over the fiscal analysis first came to light Tuesday night in Jackson at the first of eight public hearings Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is conducting to educate voters on the initiative.