WEDNESDAY, JAN. 17, 2007

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Mississippi Democratic Party ad
campaign sets the record straight

JACKSON (Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007) – A television ad campaign commissioned and funded by the Mississippi Democratic Party outlines how Republican Gov. Haley Barbour has failed to play straight with Mississippians on several high-profile issues.

The ad highlights Barbour’s conflicting stand on taxes and education funding. And it points out that many Coast residents remain homeless and in trailers despite the state’s Katrina Homeowners Assistance Grant Program.

The ad will begin airing on broadcast stations across the state this week.

“Mississippians need to know the real story about Gov. Barbour and his administration – about how he says one thing but does something else,” said Wayne Dowdy, chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party.

“Barbour wants people to believe everything is going fine and Mississippi is moving forward. But that’s not true as long as he fights eliminating the sales tax on food, drags his feet on the Katrina grant program and flip-flops on education funding.”

The ad talks about how Barbour says he opposes raising taxes but nevertheless vetoed bills during the 2006 Legislature that would have eliminated or reduced the state’s 7 percent tax on the sale of groceries.

The ad also talks about how Barbour says he supports Hurricane Katrina victims. But despite the Homeowners Assistance Grant Program, one of Barbour’s top storm relief programs, thousands of people are without homes and continue to live in trailers.

Finally, the ad talks about the governor’s flip-flop on funding the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, a state-funded program designed to ensure K-12 students receive an education on par with a Level 3, or mid-level, accredited school.

Barbour called MAEP an “artificial formula” at a political event the Mississippi Economic Council sponsored in November. And when Barbour unveiled his proposed budget about two weeks later, he recommended under funding MAEP by $93 million.

Then, in late December, Barbour told The Associated Press he expects lawmakers to fully fund MAEP this year. His flip-flop came after the state Department of Education reduced its funding request for MAEP by $33.9 million to $124.6 million in new money.

“Do you see what I’m saying?” Dowdy said. “The governor wants things both ways. One minute he says he opposes education funding, the next he says he expects to sign a bill to fund it. Which is it? And will he change again before the 2007 Legislature ends?

“Mississippi needs a governor with a clear agenda. The state doesn't need someone who constantly changes his mind on a whim and who shortchanges those who need help the most: our children, Katrina victims and the working men and women of this state.”

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