/Gov-elect Tate Reeves warns legislative Republicans on gas tax, Medicaid expansion

Gov-elect Tate Reeves warns legislative Republicans on gas tax, Medicaid expansion

Reeves’ primary campaign strategy was to resist a gas tax hike and Medicaid expansion. This week, Reeves laid out battle lines that could place him in conflict with other prominent Republicans in the Legislature. The new Lieutenant Governor. Delbert Hosemann was the candidate for the right to give local governments the option of raising the gasoline tax county-by-county — a proposal similar in spirit to that made by Speaker Philip Gunn (R-Clinton), which Reeves tried to kill. Reeves stated Tuesday morning that the Mississippi people were unanimous in their belief that the gas tax should not be raised. “And honestly, any Republican who’s out advocating the gas tax is at odds with their constituents,” Reeves said. He was elected governor by Reeves in early November. Reeves defeated Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood by almost six points. Hood’s campaign platform included Medicaid expansion and closely monitoring the state’s infrastructure crisis. Three-term secretary to state Hosemann, who was elected lieutenant governor in November, campaigned for expanding Medicaid in the state. He even met with the architect of Arkansas’ Medicaid expansion plan. Mississippi is among 14 states that have not expanded Medicaid. Several House Republicans have been pushing for expansion, despite Gunn’s insistence on keeping Medicaid expansion under wraps during his two terms as leader of the House. Robert Foster, a former state representative from Hernando and a conservative Republican, ran against Reeves during the gubernatorial primaries on expanding Medicaid. In the Republican primary, former Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. proposed expanding Medicaid. Waller and Foster enjoyed wide support from the Republican House caucus. Many of them have been at odds with Reeves for a long time. Pundits are watching closely how the power dynamics within state government will change beginning in January. Reeves is known for his shrewd leadership style as lieutenant governor. He now moves to Governor’s Mansion where legislative strong-arming is difficult. Hosemann spent November and December with the majority of 52 senators, 14 of which are newly elected. Gunn will be expected to have more control over the Republican supermajority in his third term as speaker. Reeves has been working with his transition team to fill governor’s policy positions and secure key positions within state agencies. Reeves’ Tuesday morning interview was his first since the election. Reeves stated that the Democrats and liberals spent nearly $10 million in Mississippi trying to convince Mississippians they needed Obamacare expansion. “I believe the election gave us a mandate. People in Mississippi don’t want higher taxes. And people in Mississippi don’t want more government insurance. They want the private sector engaged and involved. They also want private insurance for their families and themselves.” Representatives of Hosemann, Gunn, and Reeves did not immediately respond.