Mississippi’s Legislative Budget Committee met Monday and made it official: the state isn’t taking in as much revenue as was estimated when legislators adopted this year’s budget back in the spring, so budget cuts could be on the table in the coming months. Why? Largely because of corporate tax cuts that the State Legislature has passed during the last four years.
The largest corporate tax breaks total more than $310-million per year, but the full impact of recent cuts hasn’t yet been quantified.
Meanwhile, the 500,00 children in Mississippi’s public schools are going without textbooks, learning in overcrowded classrooms, and traveling to school in buses far past their prime.
If the corporate lobby gets its way in the coming legislative session, state coffers will lose another $230-million or so each year – they are pushing legislators to eliminate the franchise tax, one of the few corporate taxes remaining. As business lobbyist Ron Aldridge said recently, “To be honest, the last four years has been so good, getting through a lot of our agenda in the Legislature, that we don’t have a whole lot left.”
Each year, the Mississippi Legislature exempts corporations from paying hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes they should owe our state. Now all state services, including schools, could find their budgets on the chopping block as revenue comes up short.
As you have conversations with your lawmakers before the Legislature convenes in January, please remind them that more tax cuts mean less school funding. And that means children suffer.