PHILADELPHIA -- Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant pointed out correctly at the political speakings at Wednesday's Neshoba County Fair that he, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, and others slowed the budget negotiations to ensure that $60 million was set aside to be used in 2010 or beyond.
That is true. But the lieutenant governor did not point out that he and Nunnelee also slowed the budget negotiations to ensure that the tax on hospitals was increased.
By coincidence, the tax on hospitals was increased $60 million. Legislators could have just as easily not transferred $60 million to future budget years and used that money this year in lieu of a hospital tax increase.
If the additional $60 million was needed in future years, legislators could have increased the hospital tax then.
That would be another option. But Bryant, Nunnelee and Gov. Haley Barbour were intent on increasing the tax on hospitals now.