Read their lips: No new taxes
Published: October 31,2010
Officials made feelings known in speeches at MEC’s annual event
Mississippi’s statewide elected officials each spoke for about 10 minutes at last Thursday’s Hobnob.
They all said pretty much the same thing: The state’s budget for fiscal year 2012 will be among the leanest the state has had in generations, and raising taxes on anything or anybody is no way to fill the holes.
“I’m against raising anybody’s taxes,” said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.
With money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act no longer available, agencies are bracing themselves for substantial cuts in revenue. In FY12 alone, nearly $600 million that filled last year’s budget gap will not be there next July 1.
Gov. Haley Barbour, in a video message to the 2,000 folks at Hobnob, said most state agencies will have between 20 and 25 percent less money than they did two years ago. He also reiterated how not to fix it.
“We’re not going to have a tax increase this session,” he said. “This will be the toughest budget we’ve had to deal with.”
This seems to be an issue Democrats and Republicans can tread common ground on. Rep. John Mayo, D-Clarksdale, who appeared on behalf of Speaker Billy McCoy, said he found “no mood in the House” for any sort of new revenue generated from raising taxes. Mayo was one of handful of legislators who have spent the past few sessions pushing legislation that would levy an excise tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks. The effort has never gotten very far, and it appears it won’t next session, either.
Mayo was the only speaker who offered any detailed consequences of agencies going without a large chunk of funding. The Department of Mental Health, he said, will have to close four of its facilities and do away with all but the most necessary of its programs, which echoes what DMH director Dr. Edwin LeGrand told the Mississippi Business Journal two weeks ago.
Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, who called the current financial climate “the worst possible time to raise taxes,” said he will reintroduce legislation this session that would transform the state’s budgeting process from a line-item method to a performance-based model. The legislation sailed through the Senate last session but died in the House.
“All we want is a vote on the House floor, “ Bryant said. “Hopefully we can get it next year. I’m telling you, it will change everything.”
Hosemann has his own legislative agenda, parts of which he unveiled under the big white tent at the Mississippi Ag Museum.
“We need to have corporate law reform,” he said, adding that he would like Mississippi’s corporate legal structure to mirror that of Delaware, which is home to the most corporate headquarters per capital than any state in the U.S.
To sign up for Mississippi Business Daily Updates, click here.
Top Posts & Pages
- Jail kitchen supervisor pleads guilty to stealing food
- Warden who lives hundreds of miles from jail resigns
- Ex-MDEQ leader Fisher joins Butler Snow
- A BIG CHANGE: New mortgage rules seen bringing increase in pricey mobile home loans
- Top 10 finalists chosen for C Spire Conerly Trophy
- State’s new banking chief Charlotte Corley has deep roots in the business
- Analyst: KiOR Columbus plant may end up sold as scrap
- (UPDATE) Gov. Bryant: $1.2 billion aluminum plant is a very exciting proposition for the state of Mississippi
- DAVID DALLAS: Savor this Thanksgiving and be grateful
- BankPlus recognized for alternative program to payday lending