JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Governor Tate Reeves delivered the 2021 State of the State address on the Capitol steps Tuesday. He recapped what’s been a different first year of his administration than planned but celebrated the state’s resiliency.
“I am here to say that our state is unconquerable,” said Reeves. “We have taken every hit that can be thrown.”
Governor Reeves noting the way the state’s people have stood strong in the face of tornadoes, hurricanes and COVID-19. He noted that he refuses to believe people who say this is our new normal and focusing comments on looking ahead to vaccine distribution.
He gave a vision of the state’s future with what he hopes will include more jobs and higher wages.
“We work harder than anyone,” he said. “Why shouldn’t we get the best jobs, the best expansions and best headquarters? I believe we can.”
He stood by the decision to reopen schools and made this commitment:
“I’ll be eager to sign any raise that the legislature can send me,” explained Reeves. “Our teachers have earned it. It’s the right way to invest.”
His most detailed call for policy change was to eliminate the state income tax.
“We have to respect the workers of Mississippi enough to recognize when we can show restraint and stop taking from them. Allow you to spend your money that you make, and it will grow our economy beyond belief.”
It’s a proposal that the Lt. Governor seems more cautious to endorse.
“We have some struggles making that up and you can’t make it up with a wish that we grow into it,” said Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann. “You have to make it up with hard decisions.”
The Democratic response didn’t take as optimistic a viewpoint on Mississippi’s recovery and called on more actions to help those struggling to recovery amid the pandemic, including providing health care coverage.
“If Governor Reeves will not expand Medicaid, it is past time for him and Republican leaders to come up with an alternative,” said Senate Minority Leader Senator Derrick Simmons. “Identity politics do not pay the hospital bills.”
Reeves ended by saying his personal goal of cultivating more empathy and said we have to understand that every Mississippian is on the same team.
The Governor also made mention of continued investments in workforce development, a key point from his campaign platform and one he’s continued to bring up through the pandemic.