BY: Bobby Harrison
(Attorney General Jim) Hood says that pesky issue of separation of powers prevents legislators from – after the fact – telling agency heads that we should have said this instead of that in the law.
Legislative leaders, particularly Lt Gov. Tate Reeves, said Hood’s opinions (about the Budget Transparency and Simplification Act) are nothing more than an effort by “bureaucrats,” including Hood, to try to protect the fiefdoms, built on those aforementioned special funds.
Perhaps so, but some of those expressing concerns include duly elected Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, a Republican, and respected state Health Officer Mary Currier. (Gov.) Bryant even expressed concerns about the complexity of the proposal when signing it into law.
At any rate, the Budget Transparency and Simplification Act could be the first salvo in the 2019 gubernatorial election.
While there is speculation that Hood, who is in his fourth term as attorney general and has been a top target for Republicans throughout his tenure, will run for governor, there is no doubt that Reeves will run.
Reeves has had his eye on the Governor’s Mansion since before he was first sworn in as lieutenant governor in January 2012. The budget and the Transparency and Simplification Act, developed by his Appropriations Chair Buck Clarke, R-Hollandale, are tied to Reeves so he has an interest in trying to defend them against the assaults from Hood.
Reeves has long billed himself “as the grown up in the room” when it comes to budget and fiscal issues.
But now Reeves faces budget woes thanks to sluggish revenue collections and questions about the legislation that is the linchpin of that budget.