Mississippi tax revenue surges in first half of fiscal year

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Speaker of the House Philip Gunn R-Clinton addresses reporters after the adjournment of the body on the first day of the 90-day legislative session at the Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi on Tuesday, Jan.4, 2022 (AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis)

Speaker of the House Philip Gunn R-Clinton addresses reporters after the adjournment of the body on the first day of the 90-day legislative session at the Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi on Tuesday, Jan.4, 2022 (AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis)

PA

The Mississippi government raised more money in the first half of this fiscal year than it did in the same period a year earlier.

With the robust collections, legislative leaders and Republican Gov. Tate Reeves say they want to approve some sort of tax cut in the three-month session that ends in early April. But, they are far from agreeing on the details.

Talks about a tax cut disintegrated last year when the Senate rejected a House plan, even though both houses are led by Republicans.

The state’s budget years begin on July 1.

New figures from the Legislative Budget Office show the state’s overall revenue increased by almost 11% from July to December, compared to the same six months in 2020.

Corporate tax collections increased by 26% and sales tax collections increased by almost 22%.

Tax revenues on gambling have increased, but those on tobacco, spirits, beer and wine have declined.

Tax collections on car tags have declined, possibly reflecting lower sales of new vehicles during the economic uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn has said he will renew his efforts to eliminate income tax because he believes it will make Mississippi more competitive against Texas, Tennessee and Florida, which have no income tax.

“We think we have a solid plan,” Gunn said on Tuesday, the day the legislative session opened. “I think there is nothing wrong with putting money back in Mississippians’ pockets. We think the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Republican Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann has not said whether he would agree to eliminate income tax. Hosemann said in a speech Monday that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Republican Josh Harkins of Brandon was working on a tax cut proposal. Hosemann did not say when Harkins will release the details.

“I think we’ll have a tax relief program that’s going to be very attractive to Mississippians,” Hosemann said.

During the 2021 legislative session, the House proposed phasing out income tax and increasing other taxes, including sales tax on certain items. The Senate balked at what Hosemann called a tax swap.

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Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter at http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus.

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