(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File - Copyright 2020. The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
The Governor says the vetoed spending is not the responsibility of state taxpayers.
Governor Tate Reeves has chosen to partially veto the final bill of the 2022 Legislative session. HB 1353, a budget bill, made several different appropriations to special projects. Reeves indicated he did not agree with all of the expenditures which resulted in the partial veto.
“Government should be in the business of attempting to steward taxpayer money responsibly to projects of great importance,” said Reeves regarding the vetoes.
- $1 million to build a parking lot at the Jackson Convention Center.
- $1 million to the Scenic River Development for their golf course.
- $250,000 to Briarwood Pool.
- $2 million for the City of Jackson Planetarium.
- $500,000 to the City of Greenville for green space next to the Federal Courthouse.
- $13.25 million for, among other things, a golf park and trail at LeFleur’s Bluff.
- $1 million to the City of Pascagoula to assist with renovations of city offices.
- $50,000 to Arise and Shine, Inc. in Copiah County.
- $200,000 to Summit Community Development Foundation for costs associated with the Stand Pipe project.
- $7.5 million in earmarks that would be distributed to private companies through the Mississippi Development Authority without the normal financial/economic impact analysis.
In a Facebook post, Governor Reeves explained his veto decisions.
“We vetoed $14 million in golf course spending. I’ve been trying for a long time to get the state out of the golf course business. One of these projects was for a golf course that we already gave to another entity. The other was to revive a closed golf course in Jackson that is surrounded by three other publicly accessible golf courses within five miles. It’s just not a good investment when we have so many other critical needs,” said Reeves.
He said the $2 million set to go the planetarium falls in line with the Jackson City Council’s similar decision not to invest more money there.
“Jackson needs investment in safety. We need more police, not planetarium spending that has already proven to be wasteful. When we get that fully funded, we can consider luxury items,” said Reeves.
He went on to add that some spending in the bill is simply not the responsibility of the state taxpayers. This included line items dedicated to a privately-owned pool, green space around a federal courthouse, city office upgrades, and a parking lot for a convention center.
“I want to make sure you know why we make these decisions! It always makes people, even my friends, angry when we can’t spend on everything they want. But it’s important to be responsible with the money because it doesn’t belong to politicians—it is yours,” said Reeves.