Mississippi lawmakers in the House are expected to vote today on a bill that could potentially get rid of the state's individual income tax over the next 15 years. The measure would cut nearly one-point-eight billion dollars from the state's annual budget.
The Ways and Means Committee approved House Bill 1629 yesterday; a measure that would eliminate the state's second largest source of revenue starting in 2017. According to the proposal, the plan the would phase out the state's lowest tax bracket by 2019, the four percent tax bracket by 2022, and then completely do away with income taxes by 2030. Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn of Clinton says getting rid of income taxes altogether would be a big help for all Mississippians.
"We as Republicans in the House decided that if we're going to do a tax cut, that is going to be a matter of discussion, then we want it to be real," says Gunn. We want it to be significant. We want it to count, and we want to give a meaningful tax relief to the working families of Mississippi."
While House Republicans are praising the measure as a way of putting money back into the pockets of taxpayers, Democrats are condemning it, calling it little more than election year politicking. House Minority Leader Bobby Moak of Bogue Chitto says the elimination of more than a billion dollars from state coffers would be detrimental for all of Mississippi.
"What the overall effect would do would be to starve schools, your local school districts," Moak says. "It'll starve out schools like Ole Miss and Mississippi State, and cut their funding tremendously. It'll cut back on everything else that state government runs from fire trucks at your local volunteer fire department all the way down."
Lawmakers in the House have until the end of the day to pass the tax cut plan; if they don't the bill will be considered dead.