• 43°

Reeves vs. Hood: Plenty for voters to think about

There has been plenty of back-and-forth between gubernatorial candidates Jim Hood and Tate Reeves on issues that Mississippians care deeply about.

Reeves, the Republican, says the state has increased funding for public education by $400 million a year. Hood, a Democrat, counters by saying the state has shortchanged fully funding public education by $2 billion the past several years.

Both are technically correct. And there lies the rub for voters. They will have to decide who is being sincere when it comes to issues that matter to them.

On education, the numbers don’t lie. Public education has not been fully funded for years, and Reeves and Co. have been the only ones in position to change that.

On teacher pay, Reeves says he wants to increase salaries further. But, while Republicans have been in control, teacher salaries have remained below the region’s average. 

Reeves argues that Mississippi schools are seeing academic improvement. And he’s right. But we still lag behind the rest of the nation in most achievement categories. The problem is other states have made larger education gains than we have.

On Medicaid, Hood is in favor of expanding the program to cover more of Mississippi’s working poor. Reeves opposes any sort of expansion. He believes the solution is less government involvement in health care, and while that’s an admirable goal the results have not been pretty.

A proposal by the Mississippi Hospital Association that would allow for Medicaid expansion without hurting the state’s budget apparently was not even considered by Reeves.

On taxes, Reeves’ and Hood’s positions are predictable. In general, Reeves wants fewer taxes. And while Hood would never phrase it as “wanting more taxes” his plans to fund education fully and improve infrastructure will be expensive. Hood has proposed lowering the state’s sale tax on groceries, however.

On gun rights, both candidates support the Second Amendment. Both say they are pro-life.

Voters have a lot to think about between now and Nov. 5. At the end of the day, if you’re happy with the direction Mississippi is heading, Reeves is your man. If you are not, Hood may be what you’re looking for.