Ho-hum. Our politicians are so predictable. Election year is coming and with it – you guessed it – talk of cutting Mississippi taxes.
Our governor and lieutenant governor are even sparring over who gets credit for bringing it up first. It’s so blatantly political that it wouldn’t deserve comment if the future of our state and our children were not at stake.
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves trotted out the idea during a political appearance at the Neshoba County Fair.
“We think it is time to look at a pay raise for taxpayers,” he said.
No sooner had he closed his mouth than Gov. Phil Bryant’s staff was sending an email to reporters with a letter he had sent to Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn earlier in the summer.
“I believe it is time for us to provide significant tax relief to our citizens,” the governor wrote.
The reality is we do not need a state tax cut. Our taxes are among the lowest in the nation. And for the well off, they are wonderful. Our top income tax rate is 5 percent, below the 6 percent, or higher, in a number of states.
What we need are state investments in public education, health care and infrastructure. We lag behind much of the nation in all three areas and the result can be seen every day.
We pay lip service to education, but don’t back it up with the money needed to make a difference.
The small increase given public schools this year didn’t even cover the cost of a legislature-mandated teacher pay raise.
Mississippi citizens are not as naïve as some of our politicians think. State leaders need to get on with improving education and health care and creating good paying jobs.