Attorney General Jim Hood released the following statement at the close of the 2018 legislative session:
“Unfortunately for the taxpayers of Mississippi, the Senate leadership was bought and paid for this legislative session by giant corporations with little interest in the well-being of our citizens. As an example, campaign finance reports from 2010 through 2017 show that our lieutenant governor has raked in $193,750 in contributions from the companies that were awarded the contracts for the state’s Medicaid program. Of that amount, $50,000 was donated just last year to the lieutenant governor by Centene, the out-of-state parent company of Magnolia Health. The Senate successfully killed a proposal that would have allowed our own in-state hospitals to compete with the three managed care companies for the $3 billion Medicaid contracts.
In another example of huge corporations writing our laws, the Senate leadership allowed utility giant Entergy to slip an amendment into a bill that will make it more difficult for my office to take them to court for cheating the utility rate payers of Mississippi.
The Senate leadership failed once again to consider funding road and bridge repair partially with a fuel tax (7,000 – 8,000 jobs), an internet sales tax ($134 million), a lottery for education, the expansion of Medicaid ($11 billion and 11,000 jobs), or mental health to help with the opioid epidemic.
Instead of passing legislation to help our in-state businesses and our people, our Senate leadership is moving forward with massive tax cuts for predominantly out-of-state corporations (78% of $418 million tax cuts go to out-of-state corporations). All of this continues to lead our state down a path of financial ruin. Kansas, Louisiana, and West Virginia wrecked their economies and went into debt trying the same tax cuts. These huge out-of-state corporations fund their legislators with millions of dollars in campaign contributions.
Fortunately, lawmakers were able to keep the state from a financial deficit because of $32 million that the attorney general’s office brought them from various lawsuit settlements. Ironically these same lawmakers once again tried to pass bills limiting my office’s ability to go after their corporate masters. That’s no way to run a government.”
The Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves had this to say in response to the AG’s comments:
“In three short paragraphs, Jim Hood managed to offer his support for raising gas taxes, raising Internet taxes, raising sales taxes, and raising income taxes for every Mississippian,” said Laura Hipp, spokeswoman for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves. “Hood also evidently supports sole-source no-bid contracts. That’s just not right, even for Jim Hood’s ‘friends.’
“Hood’s support of Obamacare expansion is the one policy that could hamper Republicans successful fiscal policy of balanced budgets, larger rainy day fund, and less debt for our taxpayers.
“While the Attorney General continues to take millions from his trial lawyer friends and then spends it for personal expenses, the Lieutenant Governor has been universally praised for leading the charge for transparency and passing comprehensive campaign finance reform.
“Maybe the Attorney General should spend less time in Houston criticizing our conservative policies and more time focused on defending Mississippi’s recently passed law making us the safest place in America for an unborn child.”