Monday, July 6, 2009

Ohhhhh, I see. That's clear as a bell now, Gov. Think that'll play at the T.E.A. Parties?

In a political piece in today's Hattiesburg American, Emily Wagster-Pettus writes of an interaction she had with Gov. Barbour recently:

Governor Haley Barbour has said it so often during his first 5-1/2 years in office that he probably drawls it in his sleep: "I'm against raising anybody's taxes."

This year, the Republican signed three significant tax bills into law, and he didn't do so grudgingly. Barbour lobbied legislators for a hospital tax to help fund Medicaid and for two increases in the cigarette excise tax.


He had an answer ready last week when The Associated Press asked whether he had broken a promise.

On the hospital tax, Barbour said: "We're reinstating a tax that was collected before I was governor for many years, that the federal government decided that we were not collecting it in a legal way. For four years, I have been trying to get that restored because we need it for Medicaid. Let's remember, the hospitals offered to pay this tax. It was their idea. They wrote the law in the Fordice administration that created this. So, this is a reinstatement of a tax. It's not a tax increase."

Here's the problem with the "reinstatement" line: it ain't true. Straight from the Mississippi Hospital Association's press release (.doc file) on the matter:

MHA did devise the intergovernmental transfer (IGT) model that worked very well for Mississippi and 25 other states for over 15 years. That plan, however, was disallowed by the federal government in 2005.

The MHA-designed IGT program WAS NOT a taxation model. It was the equivalent of a Guaranteed Loan Program for the Division of Medicaid.

The current taxation model being proposed by the Governor and the Senate leadership is not, and never was, a proposal supported or designed by MHA.

Here's a link to the MHA online Press Room, which has several interesting documents on this issue.

I'd often wondered how Barbour and other GOP Legislators would explain the $210 million hospital tax at their "Taxed Enough Already" Parties. I guess they figure the people who go to them aren't smart enough to decipher the double-speak.


Christopher said...

Is it your contention that people who protest the level of taxation in this country are not intelligent? Is that because they disapprove of high taxes? Is it a mark of intelligence that one like high taxes?

Or is it that people protest high taxes because they lack intelligence? Are you suggesting that those with conservative politics are necessarily unintelligent? Liberals are smart and conservatives are stupid?

Just trying to understand. Either your concluding paragraph is attempting to make a cogent point, or it is just being nasty for no apparent purpose. I'm just trying to figure out which.

Jim Craig said...

I think the point was that the Governor MUST think his anti-tax supporters are in the low IQ range, because his statements about being aganst the tax before he was for it simply don't make logical sense.

Anonymous said...

The T.E.A. party movement is silly, because it was driven, in large part, by those protesting the size of government and its spending only 3 months after the current administration took office. You had all these people who put W in office and supported every ill-conceived, counterproductive, and illegal move he made decrying government expansion and spending for which his administration was largely responsible. Idiocy and illogic (and some racism, to boot) were hotter commodities than tea bags at those rallies. You had people whose chosen leaders were in office for the past 8 years claiming to be disenfranchised 3 months into Obama's term (which he won, by the way, convincingly). So no, all conservatives are not stupid; but those rallies and the whole T.E.A. movement are.

Christopher said...

It seems that pandering is probably the most likely explanation. The Republican platform is technically opposed to increased taxation, but projects and programs have to paid for somehow.

Just another reason that Democrats and Republicans disgust me in more or less equal measure.

Interestingly, the TEA parties are something of an outgrowth of Ron Paul's movement, the members of which are generally also disappointed in the state of American politics regardless of which side of the aisle it happens to inhabit. I would submit that the typical TEA party protester is most like more observant and intelligent than your average sign-carrying political pawn.

Christopher said...

@ Anonymous:

I would invite you to look a little deeper into the subject. As my other reply indicates, the TEA party concept was originated in Ron Paul's "Campaign for Liberty" movement, which was fairly indignant about the Republican party pretending it was their idea. At least one TEA party organizer was very critical of that move, since they were protesting Republican spending just as much as the Obama administration's.

The ball for these demonstrations started rolling somewhere in the first few hundred billion dollars Bush flushed down the toilet. Now that Obama has upped that figure into the trillions, it simply makes him a convenient target for Republicans to latch onto.

But make no mistake, the motivation (any many demonstrators' intent) was to give the entire government (blue and red) an earful.

Kingfish said...

anon: you are a damn liar.

If you bothered to read anything on the Tea party movement you will find they were VERY angry last fall when Bush, Paulson, and Pickering pushed these bailouts on us.

Justin said...

What about when the Bush Administration flushed billions upon billions of tax payer dollars down the toilet in Iraq?

Where were the TEA Party people then?

Matt Eichelberger said...

Christopher, my point is that no politician should be able to stand in front of a "Taxed Enough Already" crowd and say they share their concerns when they just pushed over $210M in new taxes. But the politicians (overwhelmingly GOP) will do so, and they will rail against higher taxes the whole time. That's hypocrisy at its highest level.

By the way, Christopher, I love your comments. Thank you for engaging in this dialog with us. You blogging anywhere?

Christopher said...


Then I agree 100%. I resented what I read as an underhanded slam on disgruntled taxpayers. I was unable to attend the April 15 TEA party at the capitol, but many of my friends attended and I can assure you, there are plenty of people who can decipher political doublespeak.

As far as blogging, I have a sporatically-updated blog at Ironically, the last post was in April and was about the TEA parties. I'm currently in the process of migrating it to a new social networking site devoted to the legal community. It is to be called "Law Resource Exchange" and it should be going public within weeks.

The original purpose of my blog was supposed to be a group effort with several MCSOL students and the idea was to have many opposing viewpoints, each post posing a question (hence the name). That didn't last very long. :(