It’s only pork if you don’t benefit

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Dear Editor,

The editorial column of Sunday, June 26, 2005, (“Pork slowseconomic development ‘Momentum’) stated why the Legislature neededto pass the Momentum bond package – held over from the RonnieMusgrove administration and now pushed by Haley Barbour withoutlegislative input as to projects. All good reasons, especially tothose 84 businesses waiting in line to get their money from theproceeds of this package.

Let’s not even get into the beef plant issue when MississippiDevelopment Authority Director Leland Speed released $1.5 millionto plant owner Richard Hall three weeks before the governor sentMr. Hall a congratulatory letter. The governor was later brought totask by the Clarion-Ledger editors (“Beef plant: Barbour’s words,deeds contradict,” June 4). Not to mention the fact that auditorwas provided funds in the initial legislation to review and auditthe project before it failed.

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Also, the paper raised the point that taxpayers in QuitmanCounty shouldn’t have to pay for projects in Bogue Chitto, Roxie,Brookhaven, Bude and Pike County that I had included in prior bondpackages. The paper expressed dismay that politics had crept intothe Momentum debate.

Curious, however, no mention was made of the bond monies soughtby Brookhaven through another Legislature-funded program torenovate a new police headquarters (“City will seek grant,” June22). Maybe they thought the taxpayers of Quitman County likepicking up the tab of other projects Brookhaven has sought statebond proceeds from as low-interest loans like:

* $55,89 for Gove and Sons

* $1,548,071.97 for fire, sewer and road projects

Or grants:

* $420,000 to Delphi

* $80,995 for playground equipment

* $3,597.50 to Chamber of Commerce

* $250,000 to Cortez Byrd for building and road

* $250,000 to Sola Fide for building

And that’s not all. Bad ole bond money has virtually fullyfunded the arts school to date, build a National Guard Armory, madeadditions to Brookhaven High and built the multi-purposecenter.

Sorry, but politics crept into those issues, making sure theywere funded. I guess it’s OK to be against bond proceeds whenthey’re not yours. Maybe pork, like beauty, is in the eyes of thebeholder.

Here’s another revelation. The same folks in Pike County, Roxie,Bude, Brookhaven and Bogue Chitto that the editors seem to believeshould not get a chance to have their project funded are paying thetab – just like Quitman County folks for all the Brookhavenprojects listed above.

I’m just believing in fairness that folks in Bogue Chitto($20,000 for sidewalks on county-owned property that haven’t hadhelp since the village lost its charter in the 1920s), Roxie(public property), Bude (public property), Brookhaven (publicfacility) and Pike County (state and county lands) are just asdeserving of their small projects as those monies well spent in thepast to create jobs and improve conditions for all our citizensright here at home.

And if the people in Quitman County share in helping make thathappen for us – thanks!

Rep. Bobby Moak

House District 53

Bogue Chitto