LAWMAKERS FOCUS ON TAX STRUCTURE, SPENDING BY STATE AGENCIES
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House-Senate working group meeting held Monday, Aug. 1.
Mark Rigsby - MPB News

A number of legislative working groups have two objectives over the next five months: Find ways to improve the state's tax system, and make state agency spending more efficient. As MPB's Mark Rigsby reports, the renewed focus comes after state agency budget cuts, low revenue collections, and patching the state budget with money from the rainy day fund.

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves says he wants a state tax system that encourages economic growth and investments.

"I believe very strongly that if you want more of something, tax it less. We need more income in our state. We need more taxpayers, not more taxes on the individuals that are paying their fair share," says Reeves.

"I plan on making sure that the working class citizens of this state are inclusive in this process," says Democratic representative Sonya Williams-Barnes, of Gulfport.

When it comes to spending by state agencies, House Speaker Philip Gunn says he wants to spend taxpayer dollars wisely and efficiently. Republican representative Joel Bomgar, of Madison, is in the working group focusing on medicaid.

"In the case of medicaid, spending is up over 60% over the last five years. So, dig in to why that is. What's driving it," says Bomgar.

Democratic senator Willie Simmons, of Cleveland is in the Department of Corrections work group.

"There are a number of things we can look at for corrections. We can look at our medical costs. We can look at some of the other services being in place, to look at a more efficient and effective way," says Simmons.

These lawmakers are expected to have recommendations ready for their colleagues by the next legislative session.