Does Anti-Tobacco Partnership Deserve Such Exceptions?

Even if there is merit to the programs of the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi, the Legislature is going too far in their effort to help them.

As it stands now, the Partnership’s $20 million starting appropriation is set to increase for inflation automatically every year. This is almost unheard of in our state government. Taxpayers don’t get an inflation adjustment in our tax brackets; state employees don’t get inflation increases in their pay.

But the Partnership will get an automatic $800,000 increase next year if inflation stays where it is now. By the fifth year, they’ll receive over $23 million.

These increases are set to occur even if the source of those funds – the tobacco settlement payments – declines. This would mean less money for other health care programs that are currently paid for by the settlement funds.

Worse than all that is the incredible leap of logic that says that because the Partnership does good things, they deserve $20 million to do them. If that number had not been fixed in their minds, would legislators have approved that much without knowing for sure how the money has been spent?

If you want to know how your legislators voted on this or other bills, go to mspolicy.org.