Hike funding

Governor Reeves signs $524 million tax cut as education and infrastructure funding challenges persist | Jackson Free Press

Governor Tate Reeves signed a $524 million income tax cut, predicting it would have “a huge impact on our economy for years and years to come”.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed an income tax cut Tuesday afternoon that will eliminate $524 million from state revenue. House Bill 531, known as the Mississippi Tax Freedom Act of 2022, eliminates the state’s bottom tax bracket and cuts the top tax bracket by 1%. The new income tax will be phased in over four years, starting in 2023.

“This is a tremendous victory, and it will have a huge impact on the lives of Mississippians, and it will have a huge impact on our economy for years and years to come,” the governor said at the signing of the bill. public law. “…We will be on track to return more than half a billion dollars to the people of our state.”

The legislation ends Mississippi’s 4% tax bracket on income between $5,000 and $10,000 and phased out the remainder of its 3% tax on income below $5,000. Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn had wanted to completely eliminate the state income tax, but Mississippi Senate leaders called such a move too drastic and said it wouldn’t be. fiscally responsible.

“It’s not ‘Field of Dreams.’ I don’t print money,” Lt. Gov. Hosemann told Mississippi Free Press state reporter Nick Judin in late 2020. “We need to have enough funds to pay for highway patrol, education, all the other things we pay for as a state.”

President Gunn previously served as chairman of the national board of directors of the American Legislative Executive Council, a right-wing organization that produces model legislation for state legislators across the country to present to their chambers and that has focused for years on the abolition of state income taxes. He remains on the ALEC board of directors.

The compromise bill Governor Reeves signed into law on Tuesday does not include previous proposals that would have reduced the state’s grocery tax or car tag fee. In the absence of a sales tax cut, the legislation offers the most relief to wealthier Mississippians who pay a greater share of income taxes than low-income and working-class residents.

“It’s not just a tax cut; it’s an investment in Mississippians,” Governor Reeves said during the signing of the bill. “And as we have said before, this is the perfect time to do so. Over the past several years, our state has consistently and significantly exceeded our revenue expectations. We brought in billions of dollars more than originally anticipated.

“It’s the fulfillment of a fundamental promise Conservatives made on the campaign trail that we would bring fiscal prudence and fiscal responsibility to the government of Mississippi.”

But Mississippi remains one of the states most dependent on federal dollars, with a May 2021 study placing Mississippi third in federal dependency behind Alaska and New Mexico. Mississippi also has the highest poverty rate in the nation, and the state has struggled in recent years to meet its own standards for fully funding public education or investing in needed infrastructure repairs. Lawmakers passed a state lottery in 2018 to help fill the funding gap for roads and bridges and later amended it to also send funds to schools.

The state currently receives infrastructure project assistance from billions in federal COVID-19 aid and President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Act.

On its website, The Parents Campaign, a public education lobbying organization, noted that public schools are underfunded by $272 million this year and urged supporters “to remind your legislators that everything dollar available for tax reduction…is a dollar that is available to fund our public schools.

“They insisted the state is floating in the cash and can afford a $524 million tax cut, so ‘we can’t afford it’ is no longer an excuse. Lawmakers should be held accountable if they vote to fund massive tax cuts… before making a sincere and meaningful effort to close the funding gap for the more than 400,000 children in our public schools.

This story originally appeared in the Mississippi Free Press. The Mississippi Free Press is a statewide nonprofit media outlet that provides most of its articles free to other media outlets for republishing. Write [email protected] for information.