/Hood, Reeves clash over state losing mental health lawsuit

Hood, Reeves clash over state losing mental health lawsuit

“This isn’t politics. Hood stated this during a recent news conference held in his office at the Sillers state building following the ruling against the state. Just as the two gubernatorial contenders are clashing ahead of the November general elections, the issue of U.S. district Judge Carlton Reeves’s decision against the state and plans to appoint a master to assist the state in enacting community-based services for mentally ill is the latest example of their disagreement. The Democratic attorney general, who represented the state before the federal judge, claimed that he was dealt a “losing case” due to the fact that the Legislature had passed so many tax cuts which left the state without enough money to meet its vital needs. I have repeatedly tried to explain to them that if they don’t spend the money now, it will be more expensive down the line. Hood stated that while they take credit for tax cuts they are only buying time and pushing the can down. Parker Briden, Reeves’ spokesperson, stated that Hood, like the rest of the national Democrats will find a way for Republicans to be blamed for all problems for the next two-months. This is more partisan politics by a liberal Democrat.” Lieutenant Governor. Reeves said that the tax cuts Hood is praising have helped to grow the economy and made Mississippi more competitive in terms of attracting economic development projects. Hood sent Reeves copies of letters he received detailing the costs of similar legislation in other states. Hood also stated that a lawsuit in Mississippi could be avoided if the Legislature provided funds for the mental health issue. Federal law requires that mental health services are provided in community settings to those who are mentally ill. Hood informed lawmakers of $267 million in settlement funds that his office received over the years. These funds could be used to address this issue. Hood also suggested in at least one letter that federal funds be used to expand Medicaid. Hood’s attempts to expand Medicaid to provide healthcare coverage for the working poor – primarily using federal funds – has been opposed by Reeves. Hood stated, “We have had options ..,”.” Hood stated that all they did (the Legislators) was to give away our money. They dug their heads into the sand. “That’s what Tate Reeves did all his time as lieutenant governor. He has only done one thing: he gave away tax money to state corporations in order to receive campaign contributions. Hood stated that the Legislature allocated $20 million over two years to address the issue. Hood said that the Legislature appropriated $20 million to address the issue over a two-year period. However, after more than 50 tax cuts were passed by the Legislature, budget cuts occurred and the legislature stopped funding community-based services for the mentally sick. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state. The case was argued by Judge Reeves earlier in the year. Hood claimed that the lawsuit is costing millions of dollars to the state because the state, as the loser, is responsible for the payment of attorneys’ fees. Hood cited a previous lawsuit against the state’s foster-care system, where the problems could have been solved for $22 million. Hood claimed that the state failed to correct the problems. The state lost the lawsuit and was responsible for $21million in attorneys’ fees.