Fact check: Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ claims about jobs and the Mississippi economy


Rogelio V. Solis / Associated PressTate Reeves announces his candidacy for governor, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, at the state GOP headquarters in Jackson, Miss. Reeves is Mississippi’s second-term Republican lieutenant governor.
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, flanked by his wife and three daughters as he announced his candidacy for governor on Jan. 3, wasted little time in his speech getting to the foundation of his campaign: the strength of the state’s economy.
“I am an eternal optimist, and I will run an optimistic campaign — a campaign that focuses on results and solutions for Mississippi’s future, and a campaign that always protects the taxpayers,” Reeves said at Mississippi Republican Party headquarters in Jackson.
Reeves, who has helped guide economic policy the past eight years as lieutenant governor, refers to himself as the state’s “fiscal watchdog” and often touts his finance background. After a short career in investment banking as a chartered financial analyst, he entered politics and served two terms as the state treasurer.
That background drives his campaign messaging on the stump. He boasts about the state’s lowest-ever unemployment rate, the increasing wages of Mississippi workers, the state’s largest-ever tax cuts he spearheaded and the notion that more than 50,000 jobs are available for Mississippians.
“I think it’s a pretty difficult argument to make that Mississippi isn’t in far better shape today than we were eight years ago, and I think that’s why you’re seeing people in places like these rally behind our campaign,” Reeves told Mississippi Today in June.
The rhetoric reflects the beliefs of a majority of Mississippians who believe the state’s economy is doing well, according to an online poll by NBC News/SurveyMonkey released in July. More than three-fifths of Mississippians said they believed the state economy is very good or fairly good compared to others who believe it is fairly bad or