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Byrant Gets Specific in First State of State

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 24 Jan 2012 09:35pm | comments

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant iscalling on the state legislature to take action and pass specific bills this term. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports Bryant made a list of policy proposals that he believes could help Mississippi in his first state of the state address.

Standing before a giant American flag, on a blue stage on the south step of the capitol Tuesday night, Governor Phil Bryant used his state of the state address to advocate specific and detailed policy.

Bryant opened his 30 minute speech with a focus on job creation and streamlining state government.

"I will ask for the introduction of the Mississippi Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act, which will authorize a small business regulatory review committee. Their responsibility will be to review regulations in every state agency to determine first if it is a necessary function of government, and if so, is that regulation a hindrance to job creation," Bryant said.

Energy played a big role in the speech, with Bryant pushing for more efficiency incentives, increased oil drilling in the gulf and proposing to transition state vehicles to natural gas.

Bryant expressed his disappointment with the state's worst in the nation public health rankings and called for more state incentives for health care providers and a income tax cap for doctors who work in under-served areas.

"This will allow doctors to serve in rural areas of our state while maintaining the necessary income to support his or her family and small medical business," Bryant said.

Bryant also came out in support of performance pay for teachers, more charter schools, and duel track enrollment for high school students to learn job skills.

The Governor again renewed his call to change how the state writes its budget, demanding a performance based budget act this session.

"The defenders of the status quo have controlled the budget process for far too long. It is time for bold leadership to bring the budget process into the 21st century. I ask to put the smart budget act on my desk this session," Bryant said. 

Senator John Horhn of Jackson was among the Democrats who attended the speech and says its substance is something both parties can support.

"On the whole, his speech was a speech to try and bring Mississippians together instead of trying to send them apart," Horhn said.

The speech resonated with Rick Cothern, who was among spectators who gathered around the south steps, especially the recommended changes to public education.

"He has got a lot of good plans for education. I have got grand kids that are coming up in the school system and I think his plans will be good for the state," Cothern said.

Bills are now being filed in the state legislature and Republican majorities in both chambers could give Bryant an opportunity to see many of his stated policy goals achieved.



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