So said The New York Times in an editorial on July 24, 2001.
Of course, praise for this state’s lawmakers came with a twist. The newspaper was also trying to shame New York for not being as bold.
The topic was Mississippi’s largest (and perhaps only) multiyear package of increases in compensation for the state’s public school teachers.
Ronnie Musgrove, a Democrat whose one term as governor was sandwiched between eight years of Kirk Fordice and eight years of Haley Barbour, had served as a state senator and lieutenant governor and still had friends in the halls of the Legislature.
He led to passage a five-year plan of tiered increases that would end with teachers receiving overall 30 percent — 30 percent — raises to near the projected Southeast average for 2005.
When first passed, the annual raises were tied to triggers. That is, if the state’s overall income didn’t grow by 5 percent in any year, there would be no raises the next year.
Some saw that as making the package meaningless, illusory because it was based on “ifs.” So Musgrove called lawmakers back into session. When he did, they agreed to lift all triggers, making a firm commitment to the raises, which added $337.9 million to the base cost of K-12 education…
Read the full op-ed at Sunherald.