Lawmakers in the Senate are reviving an effort to cut state revenues by more than $575 million over a 15-year period.
The Senate Finance Committee has once again passed a measure that would eliminate Mississippi’s corporate franchise tax, portions of the individual income tax and reform the state’s self-employment taxes.
The plan is nearly identical to a measure that passed the Senate last year, but was eventually killed in the House.
Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves says the cuts amount to a pay increase for taxpayers.
“If this bill were to pass the Senate in the coming days, and the House ultimately, that’s exactly what would happen,” says Reeves. “Every single taxpayer that pays individual income taxes in our state would receive a pay raise when this was ultimately implemented.”
Lawmakers are in the first round of drafting the budget for fiscal year 2017. So far, experts say the state has been unable to meet revenues expectation, forcing millions in spending cuts from last year. Opponents of the plan, like Democratic Senator Hob Bryan of Amory, believe cutting additional revenues would further eat into services currently being provided by the state.
“None of us are really carried away at paying taxes, but unless we have a method of operating vital government services with manna, that’s our method of providing education and healthcare, the basic services that the people expect us to provide.
At the same time, Representatives in the House are adding provisions to general fund spending bills that would force the legislature to cut the state budget if tax cuts are passed.