Senate Bill 2579 a small step forward for a deeply troubled DMR but is Miller Time a good time for the agency

Jamie Miller came to the Executive Director’s job at the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources with a reputation as a no nonsense hatchet man and he has lived up the PR in his first 10 months on the job. In true Mississippi political fashion the surviving, politically connected finalist was also hired on with the agency as well so as to minimize blowback potential, Joe Cloyd got another do nothing sweetheart state contract and all was declared well with the world.

Mistake not the fact that Miller was Phil Bryant’s man from the start as there was never really any competition for the Executive Director job in the wake of Bill Walker’s departure from the agency. Miller Time reigns supreme at DMR and so it is natural the local legislative delegation would be pushing reforms that give even more power to the executive director and that is exactly what Senate Bill 2579 does.

Like most legislation it contains things that people would judge to be good and bad.  I personally like the fact the agency will be required to have an annual audit performed.  That said on these pages commenters have decried giving the Executive Director even more power and when I read the bill I wondered why there is even such a thing as a Commission on Marine Resources given the Executive Director’s sweeping power to hire the top positions with no oversight. More on that in a bit. Continue reading “Senate Bill 2579 a small step forward for a deeply troubled DMR but is Miller Time a good time for the agency”

Financial Statement Drilldown: Is Bay St Louis budgeting revenues it will never collect?

And the question in the post title begs the next key question in “Is City is expending the revenues it will never receive?”. The answer to both questions appears to be yes if the City budget is more than a simple piece of paper with numbers on it. First up is an analysis of Revenue account 201, where Ad Valorm Tax Revenue from Real Property is coded. Here is the salient portion of the 2013-2014 City Budget:

2013-2014 BSL Budget Worksheet

We can see that in 2012-2013 the City Budget called for total revenues for this line item, the largest of all the Ad Valorem Tax Revenue sources, of $1,680,000 yet as of September 12, 2013 only $1,284,724 had been collected. That amount ($1,284,724) should be very close to the final number aka actual for the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year as very little Real Property Ad Valorem tax is paid at that time of the year since the property taxes were due in January. Therefore using that number for 2012-2013 means that line item was short $395,276 in Real Property Tax Ad Valorem Revenues, which represents in excess of 10% of total budgeted revenues. Following is a chart which shows the 3 year trend for this revenue line item:

Source, 2013-2014 Budget Report Obtained from City's Website. 2013 data incomplete but should not differ materially from actual
Source, 2013-2014 Budget Report Obtained from City’s Website. 2013 data incomplete but should not differ materially from actual

RFP was all over this fact in comments linking a 2011 WLOX story on the problem:

Bay St. Louis mayor sets record straight about finances ~ Michelle Lady Continue reading “Financial Statement Drilldown: Is Bay St Louis budgeting revenues it will never collect?”

Latest boondoggle proposed by Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Development Authority: Jackson Movie Studio

God help everyone hold onto their wallets because the Movie Industry is targeting the Mississippi treasury after successfully looting Louisiana’s with taxpayer funded boondoggle. Geoff Pender promotes the scheme for the Clarion Ledger:

Adam Rosenfelt, a film producer and president of Element Pictures with more than 15 feature films to his credit, including “Mr. Brooks” and “Waiting,” wants to create Mississippix Studios, based in Jackson.

And, he wants to create a new program of film incentives that would result in more money coming in to the state, and permanent jobs. Typically film productions are granted tax breaks or other incentives upfront, shoot for a few months then head back to Hollywood with states often seeing little direct financial benefit. Rosenfelt is proposing the state create a loan guarantee program that serves as a “backstop.” If his company is successful, the state pays nothing, and instead gets 10 percent of his profit.

One big clue the latest scheme is gonna be a problem is the guy in Jackson promoting it is:

  1. Spreading a BS story about how much he loves the Mississippi coast which is why he’s been 3 and a half hours away in Jacktown for the past year with his nose up Phil Bryant’s hiney. Bryant, never known for private sector financial acumen was likely sucked right in by the promise of getting to hob nob with Slabbed favorite Bull Durham, who was last seen celebrating his successful shakedown of BP back during the oil spill.
  2. Was a “pioneer in state film incentives, and helped develop Louisiana’s groundbreaking motion picture tax credit program.” This program was groundbreaking in the sheer amount of taxpayer money that has been pissed away into the pockets of people like Rosenfelt, who now splits his time between Los Angeles and Jackson.

In fact pioneering the latest movie industry scheme to fleece the taxpayers is exactly what Rosenfelt is doing in Mississippi because he’d no more live in Jackson, Mississippi than he would Montgomery Alabama if the taxpayers weren’t gonna pay for it some sort of way. Louisiana pissed away over one bllion dollars before people started to ask the critical questions that had not been previously asked about Rosenfelt’s Louisiana film tax credit boondoggle according the Louisiana Budget Project (PDF of their 12 page report can be found here).

One would naturally think that after the financial crash just 5 years ago the problems with Rosenfelt’s scheme would be apparent, especially to Lt. Gov Tate Reeves, who comes from a financial background.  Here are Rosenfelt’s talking points: Continue reading “Latest boondoggle proposed by Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Development Authority: Jackson Movie Studio”