Competing tax reform proposals being offered within Mississippi State Capitol

Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 11:04 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s year two of tax reform discussions at the State Capitol. But the two chambers have competing proposals. The Governor asked the legislature for this debate, even mentioning the call to action in his State of the State address.

“If we can eliminate the income tax, we can achieve a historic victory for this state,” said Reeves.

But the result is two very different tax reform plans from each chamber.

The House plan is a full elimination of the income tax. The Senate plan doesn’t go that far. It instead phases out the 4% bracket. Both plans would provide relief on grocery tax and car tags.

Empower Mississippi believes full elimination would help make the state more competitive.

“So realistically, over time, you’re looking at a $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion tax cut. It’s just designed in a way that on the front end, people get immediate relief, without the state feeling the pain of not having enough money in its bank account to pay for the core functions of government,” explained Empower Mississippi President Russ Latino.

And Empower says the state can afford it.

“I actually think the Speaker probably is underselling, to some degree, the nature of the cut because even in year one, you’re talking about a cut that’s partially paid for with revenue surplus, and then in additional years it’s being paid for with revenue growth,” added Latino.

But The Parents’ Campaign fears it will impact core functions like education.

“The bottom line is that Mississippi cannot afford an income tax cut, which would reduce state revenue by hundreds of millions of dollars,” described The Parents’ Campaign Executive Director Nancy Loome.

Their argument is why not fund all those core functions and then see if something like this is possible.

“And so if there’s not enough money to pay our teachers, you know, at the southeastern average, like our neighboring states do, or to fully fund public schools, or do all these other things that taxpayers expect and deserve, we certainly cannot afford to reduce revenue,” said Loome.

The two plans will likely go to a conference committee where they will search for a compromise.

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