- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Job creation, schools, tax cuts and tourism are among the issues Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant will discuss Wednesday during his annual State of the State address as he outlines his election-year legislative agenda.

The speech is set for 5 p.m. before a joint session of the House and Senate at the state Capitol. It will be carried live on Mississippi Public Broadcasting radio and television.

“We’ll be talking about economic development. We’ll be talking about education. We’ll be talking about proposals that I will have for this year’s session - tax cuts, for example, increasing funding for tourism,” Republican Bryant said last week when asked for a preview of the speech.

“As always, we will talk about the things that have happened in the past and the things that I will ask the Legislature to consider in the future,” he said.

Bryant is seeking a second term this year, and has not attracted a big-name opponent so far. The qualifying deadline for candidates is Feb. 27.

The Democratic leader of the Mississippi House, Rep. Bobby Moak of Bogue Chitto, said in a news release Tuesday that he has low expectations for the governor’s speech.

“It will be more empty promises to fund education, some tripe about silver shovel awards in hard-to-find magazines, a little hot air about inflated job numbers and made-up business rankings,” Moak said. “All this while he whistles past the graveyard on a broken education system, record unemployment rates, and hospitals closing around the state.”

Mississippi Republican Party chairman Joe Nosef said Moak’s comments show that Democrats have disintegrated into irrelevance.

“While, unfortunately, it is typical to see empty rhetoric from the minority Democrat party whining and attacking our governor, it is quite humorous to see them criticize a speech that is 24 hours away from being made,” Nosef said in a statement Tuesday.

Bryant has said he hopes to gain bipartisan support for his proposed tax break for people with low to moderate incomes. Under his plan, a family of four with a household income of $52,000 would receive a $921 a year tax credit, and a single person with an income of $14,590 would receive a credit of $75, he said. The tax breaks would be available only in years when state revenue grows by at least 3 percent.

“If you don’t owe taxes, you don’t get that money in return,” Bryant said during an interview in late December. “You have to actually have an income owed to the state to get the credit back.”

Bryant also said he is willing to listen to other proposals for tax cuts.

“I am certainly willing and eager to work with the Legislature to hear other ideas, if they have a better idea,” he said. “I think you’ll hear Republicans and Democrats talking about some type of tax cut. Traditionally, Democrats would talk about sales tax reductions, Republicans have talked about income. “

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

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