It’s safe to say that the Joint Tax Study Committee hearings didn’t change many minds.
One of the groups pushing the House plan to eliminate the income tax is Empower Mississippi, which was founded in 2014 with the goal of privatizing public education through vouchers for private school tuition. Among the strategies that privatization groups use to achieve their goal is to reduce funding to public schools in order to weaken them. Two of the “experts” who testified at today’s hearing were Empower’s founding board chair and its president.
A breath of fresh air was State Economist Corey Miller, who provided one of the most important pieces of information over the two days of meetings. When asked by Rep. Trey Lamar to identify Mississippi’s greatest need or impediment to growth, Mr. Miller didn’t hesitate. “…it’s absolutely human capital…education and training…”
Mississippi Economic Council President and CEO Scott Waller echoed that sentiment as he described the concerns that business leaders expressed in 39 meetings across the state. “Without question, the number one issue…is workforce development…Every part of education from pre-k through adult learning ties to workforce development.” Waller said that eliminating the income tax has not been raised as a priority a single time.
John McKay, president and CEO of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, agreed that investing in education and workforce development is critical. He and representatives of three other business associations took issue with components of the House plan.
We are hearing the same concerns from our members. Their priority is bringing teacher salaries to a competitive level and investing in our children’s futures – not some convoluted tax swap plan that leaves teachers, retirees, and other working families with more of the tax burden while reducing the burden on the wealthy.
It was widely acknowledged in the hearings that Mississippi’s recent revenue picture is wildly skewed by billions in federal stimulus dollars and a shift in the 2020 tax deadline, making this an especially bad time to consider a massive change in Mississippi’s tax structure.
The tax study committee has invited your comments. Our 5 Reasons handout might be helpful to you as you draft your remarks. You can mail your comments to:
Joint Tax Study Committee
Attention: Becky Mercier
P.O. Box 1018
Jackson, Mississippi 39215
or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
We know you care deeply about our teachers and the children in our public schools. Here’s how you can help:
- Send your comments about the House tax cut plan to the address above
- Spread the word about this dangerous plan and encourage your friends to submit comments
- Share our social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
- Download and print our 5 REASONS handout to share with your family and friends
- Make sure your legislators know that your priority is competitive teacher compensation and better public school funding
The majority of our legislators understand that their job is to represent the interests of their constituents, and they are sincere about wanting to hear your concerns and priorities. Our job is to communicate clearly where we stand on these important issues. We know that when we work in concert with our legislators we can see a better day for Mississippi children. Because together, we’ve got this!