Ex House member weighs in on Legislature

Published 8:55 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2017

It’s a little different sitting on the outside looking in, but Bogue Chitto attorney Bobby Moak is still watching.

Moak, 58, is keeping an eye on the state Legislature as they enter their second week in a 90-day session. For three decades, Moak was there in the midst of the action. Now he’s lawyering in Southwest Mississippi and leading the state’s Democratic party.

“Heck, I was there 32 years, so I’m still keeping up with what’s going on,” he said. “As chair of the Democratic party, I’m trying to see what my Republican friends are up to.”

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Moak is paying attention to the budget, jobs and education.

“It’s no big secret that Mississippi has a budget problem,” he said.

He said that the Legislature must do its part to reduce spending and increase revenues, or it “hurts people on the local level.”

Moak and the party are hopeful that Democrats will make a strong showing in upcoming municipal elections because it will take those people to create the change that is needed, he said.

“We want to know that our city fathers and our county leaders are standing up and talking to our legislators and saying ‘You need to fix this problem,’” he said.

Moak is more than happy to be an armchair quarterback and offer his advice to local legislators. “It’s a lot more fun telling them what they need to do,” he said.

Moak said the state must provide job opportunities for its citizens. “We have to do a better job at creating jobs,” he aid.

When the people don’t have jobs, the population become stagnate. Cities in nearby states are showing growth, but not in Mississippi.

He said legislators have been too friendly to big business and forgotten the smaller businesses with 10 to 20 tax-paying employees.

“The Legislature is all ears when some large corporation wants to come in and ask for a tax break or a grant,” he said. “But it seems like their ears are full of wax when it comes down to the local employer. There has to be something to help those folks.”

Moak said the Legislature is lacking a political will to help the small tax payer by giving so many tax breaks to the big companies.

“We’ve got to do better than that,” he said. “They need political courage. All they’re going to do is look to us to pay more taxes. We’ve got to change that.”

Legislators should say no “when big business comes in asking for the sky,” he said. “They don’t have the political courage to take the tax breaks away from the big boys.”