Treasurer candidate pushes ‘Watchdog Plan’

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

While the office’s duties deal in budget projections and bondratings, Tate Reeves said the state treasurer also can helpeveryday citizens by fostering a better state climate for economicdevelopment.

The Republican Reeves pitched his “Watchdog Plan forMississippi” during a stop in Brookhaven Tuesday. The four-pointplan involves the state treasurer taking a more active role in thelegislative process and in other state finance-related matters.

One aspect is to expand and enhance the Mississippi PrepaidAffordable College Tuition (MPACT) and the Mississippi AffordableCollege Savings (MACS) programs. To encourage more participation,Reeves proposed expanding marketing to not only urban areas torural areas of the state.

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“The long-term solution to an improved economic climate isimproved educational opportunities for our young people,” Reevessaid. “Both of these programs provide that opportunity.”

Reeves, one of three candidates seeking the state postpreviously held by Marshall Bennett, said the state treasurershould be an advocate for taxpayers.

“We need to try and find more ways to be efficient with themoney the state is collecting,” Reeves said, adding thatMississippi’s state and local taxes are among highest insoutheast.

Another aspect of Reeves’ watchdog plan is to “take politics outof the state’s budget projections.” He said a panel consisting ofthe treasurer, state economists and business leaders would lead tomore conservative economic forecasts upon which to base budgetestimates.

Reeves, 29, also said it is important to guard the state’scredit rating. Like a traffic signal, he suggested issuing publicRed Light, Yellow Light or Green Light ratings to gauge the effectsthat pending legislation would have on the state’s financialsituation.

The final point in the plan is to invest in Mississippi first.Reeves said getting the best return on investments is the firstpriority, but investing with state financial institutions helpscreate economic development and job opportunities for citizens.

Reeves, who grew up in Florence, is no stranger to LincolnCounty.

His parents, Terry Reeves and the former Diane Magee, bothgraduated from Bogue Chitto Attendance Center. His grandparents,Ruth Reeves and Pete and Idele Magee, still live in the county. Heis also the grandson of the late Cecil P. Reeves

Reeves faces Democrat Gary Anderson and Reform Party candidateLee Dilworth in the Nov. 4 general election. He said is importantto elect the person best qualified for the state treasurer’soffice.

“Given the financial mess our state is in, we need to elect abusinessman and not a bureaucrat to the treasurer’s office,” Reevessaid.

A graduate of Millsaps College with a bachelor’ degree ineconomics, Reeves serves as an investment officer for TrustmarkNational Bank. He said his duties as an investment officer,including handling bond issue proceeds for cities, counties andschool districts, would translate well into the state treasurer’soffice.

“My career has mirrored the duties of the state treasurer, onlyI’ve done it in the private sector,” Reeves said.