Lt. Gov. Lt. Gov. Reeves declared Tuesday that “our economy is growing faster than ever before in our state’s historical history,” during the debate which featured all three Republican candidates to be governor. Similar statements have been made by Reeves in the past. It is an important part of his campaign. According to University Research Center figures, Reeves was lieutenant governor from 2012 to 2012. The gross domestic product is a measure that measures the state’s wealth. Since then, it has increased 2.2 percent and 0.6 percent respectively. The annual GDP growth was 6.8 percent from 1991 to 1999 when the Mississippi casino industry was established. From 1991 to 1999, the average growth was 4 percent. Strong GDP growth was also recorded during the 2000s. Reeves argued at Tuesday’s debate that recent years have seen record low unemployment levels in the state – 4.3 percentage points in April 2018. However, this rate has increased in recent months to 6 percent in June. This is the highest level in the country. The state’s job growth has been slower than the national average. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of Mississippians with jobs did not exceed the 2008 pre-recession 2008 level until 2018, when it reached 1,164.2 million. According to data from University Research Center, Mississippi’s job growth was 1.3 percent since the 2008-09 recession. Nationally, it was 8.3 percent. You can cite many statistics. Mississippi continues to have one the lowest participation rates in the work force, at a mere 1%. This means that a lot of people don’t work. Reeves claims that the economy is expanding is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that state revenue collections in the fiscal years July 2018 to June 2019, grew 4.9 per cent or $277 million over the previous year. This was the highest growth rate since fiscal year 2014. Revenues grew by 5.1 percentage. However, between 2014 and 2019, there was a lot of stagnant growth. It should also be noted that revenue increased by over 10 percent in many years of the 1990s. Reeves still cites recent revenue growth as an indicator of a strong economy, since sales tax revenue, and personal income tax revenue, make up the majority, but not all, of state revenues. Reeves agrees with many economists that growth in these two revenue areas is evidence of an economy growing. The year saw sales tax growth of 2.65 percent and income tax growth of 3.9 percent. Tuesday’s debate highlighted the issue that has become the central issue in this year’s gubernatorial elections – how is the state doing economically. Reeves is the lieutenant governor, and key policymaker. He wants people to believe that his policies helped to create an economic strong. Reeves wants to be connected to the outgoing Republican governor. Phil Bryant has supported him. According to a recent NBC/Survey Monkey poll, Bryant’s approval rating is 70%. This also indicates that the majority of Mississippians believe that the state economy works well. Reeves must be happy with both of these statistics. Reeves knows that perception often prevails over reality in politics. At Tuesday’s debate, his opponents tried convincing voters that the economy was not as strong and as robust as Reeves claims. Robert Foster, a state representative from DeSoto County, argued that the economy should grow at a faster rate. During Tuesday’s debate, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. stated that he was not satisfied with the current status quo. He said Mississippi deserves better. He noted that Mississippi’s gross domestic products have grown by 2 percentage points since 2009, compared with 22 percent for the country. These figures were derived from Darrin Webb, the state economist. Reeves will be able to use the strong economy argument against Foster or Waller if he wins the Aug. 6, primary.