Treasurer hopefuls vow to control debt

By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal

PHILADELPHIA – The three Republican candidates for what is expected to be a tightly contested race for the open seat of treasurer all promised Thursday at the Neshoba County Fair to work to decrease the state’s debt.
The state’s debt is generated by the issuance of bonds approved by the Legislature. But even after the Legislature approves those bonds, they must be issued by the Bond Commission, consisting of the governor, attorney general and treasurer.
All three – state Personnel Board Executive Director Lynn Fitch; attorney Lucien Smith, a former budget adviser to Gov. Haley Barbour; and state Sen. Lee Yancey, R-Brandon, all said they would work to lower the debt.
All three, speaking at Founders Square pavilion, also promised to work to ensure the state can meet the commitment of its pension program for government workers and school teachers.
The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Connie Moran, mayor of Ocean Springs, in the November general election.
Moran promised to not only to look after taxpayer funds, but also to use her economic development experience to help bring jobs to the state.
She said she has a financial background and is “a professional economic developer… working in economic development for over 20 years” on the state and local levels. She worked internationally in jobs recruitment for the Mississippi Development Authority.
Smith said he would bring to the treasurer’s office the same principles used in the Barbour administration in developing a budget.
He said he would work “in the best interest of taxpayers… not legislators.”
Yancey, a first-term state senator, said he is running on his record, as a fiscal and social conservative Republican and did not have to run on the record of anyone else.
He said he signed a pledge not to raise any taxes and was one of the few legislators to honor that pledge by not voting for the cigarette tax increase that passed in 2009.
Fitch, who has held several jobs in state government, including as head of the Personnel Board, said, “I have 26 years of service in the public finance arena… I know how to do a budget. I know how to do budget cuts. I know how to do more with less.”
Gulfport City Council President/businessman Ricky Dombrowski said incumbent Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is trying to dictate to local officials how to manage public lands, such as 16th Section land and the Coast tidelands.
Dombrowski, who is challenging Hosemann in Tuesday’s Republican primary, said he would end that process.
Hosemann said his management of 16th Section land has increased earnings from 16th Section by $25 million “for the schoolchildren.” He said his budget has fallen each year he has been in office – at his request.

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