Mississippi lawmakers under age 40 are returning for the 2019 Legislative Session with the goal of pushing an agenda that keeps Millennials in the state. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
Lawmakers under age 40, both Democrats and Republicans are working to promote bills that encourage young adults to stay in Mississippi. House Republican Roun McNeal of Greene County co-chairs the Mississippi Future Caucus. The 34-year old attorney is pushing for tax incentives.
"We want to encourage them to buy a home in Mississippi and give tax incentives mostly for people who take a job in Mississippi and buy their first home in Mississippi," said McNeal.
The problem is Mississippi is losing population. Brett Kittredge is with the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, a conservative think-tank. He says more than 3,000 people left last year. Kittredge says the states around Mississippi are growing expect Louisiana. He says the fastest growing ones don't have an income tax: Texas, Washington, Nevada and Florida.
"What people are looking for is opportunity. What we've seen is that the low tax and in particular the no-tax states are the states where people are moving to," said Kittredge.
House Democrat Jeramey Anderson of Jackson County co-chairs the future caucus with McNeal. He says many young people are turned-off by laws such as HB 1523, which allows businesses to recuse themselves from providing services to same sex couples. Anderson says the attitude "if you don't like it leave" is hurting the state. He says that and other issues including low wages are causing people to leave.
"I think the first step that has to happen is everyone in leadership has to acknowledge that this problem does exists," said Anderson.
Anderson says he'll be pushing for a focus on education and to raise the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour.