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Mississippi lawmakers hold hearings to discuss possible changes to tax structure

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 10:26 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - What you pay in taxes in Mississippi could potentially change. But lawmakers are still looking at what might get cut and if it would mean raising other taxes.

”Under the House plan, right out the gate, 48% of income taxpayers in the state of Mississippi would pay no more income tax under our plan,” explained Speaker Philip Gunn in Wednesday’s tax study committee hearing.

The House plan he was referencing would be phased in over ten years, eventually eliminating the state income tax but also reducing the grocery tax and raising the sales tax.

”I don’t want anyone to conclude that it’s the only solution out there,” noted Gunn. ”We think it’s a good starting point and that’s the reason I’m asking questions about it.”

It’s a plan that’s faced criticism, even from the Governor who is supportive of one piece of the plan.

”The income tax should be eliminated,” Reeves said in a press conference Tuesday. But that’s where his agreement ends.

”I’ve said it before,“ explained Reeves. “And I’ll say it again. I’m opposed to taking less from you here. And taking more from you there. I’m opposed to robbing from Peter to pay Paul.”

A graphic from the Legislative Budget Office shown during the hearing showed that more than 31 percent of the general fund revenues come from individual income tax. And some lawmakers have said they’re concerned about how to fill that hole.

”The jury is still out as to what kind of impact the House version of the tax reform bill will have on our economy,” noted Sen. John Horhn. ”It needs some further study. That’s what we’re doing now and hopefully we’ll come up with some answers.”

Senate Finance Chair Senator Josh Harkins was the one who proposed this study committee when the Senate received the House proposal, saying they didn’t need to rush such significant changes to the tax structure.

”When you move one column, that’s going to move another column and that’s going to subsequently move other columns,” Harkins said in regards to the reform plan. “So, you make sure that you’re not cutting your legs out from under you in one area. And I think that’s what’s important is that we make sure we understand everything that’s involved in doing this.”

So, there aren’t any changes happening right now. But lawmakers are hearing from the experts to have more information before drafting a potentially new proposal next session.

We’ll keep you posted on anything that may impact your pocketbook.

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