- Associated Press - Sunday, September 17, 2017

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) - House Democrats will tell Tupelo residents this week that they believe “massive corporate tax cuts” are hurting the state budget and services to Mississippians.

A similar hearing took place earlier this month in Hattiesburg, and they say others will be scheduled around the state.

The Democrats say the tax cut policy isn’t working, and the proof is in rising tuition at universities and community colleges, the loss of 650 jobs at the Department of Mental Health, cutbacks at the Department of Health and the underfunding of local school districts by more than $2 billion since 2008, (backslash)The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports.

“We just want people to understand the reality of what is happening and the facts of how massive corporate tax cuts are impacting our budget,” said Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, who is listed as the host of the Tupelo hearing. “We just want the people to understand. There is nothing sinister.”

Republican leaders say they were elected to make budget cuts.

“The tax cuts are part of a long-term tax policy for Mississippi,” said House Speaker Philip Gunn. “We believe that in time, they will result in a stronger economy and in the creation of more jobs for our citizens.”

The $6 billion state-support budget approved for the current fiscal year is about $330 million less than the one approved during the 2016 session, which also was a cut from the amount approved in 2015.

During the past six years, the Republican majority has passed, and Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has signed, almost 50 tax cuts that have taken more than $300 million out of the general fund revenue stream. The bulk of those tax cuts, though not all, have been directed toward businesses.

The start of the phase-in of the largest of those tax cuts, $435 million over 10 years, begins this year. While the tax cut is for businesses and on personal income, the first year of the phase-in is directed solely at providing additional relief of about $18 million for businesses.

Holland said the meeting is needed because the Republican leadership seldom, if ever, hosts hearings anymore to discuss issues.

Republican leaders say the tax policy they have pursued will eventually lead to an improved economy for the state and to a growth in state revenue. They point improved revenue collections for the first two months of the current fiscal year as perhaps a positive sign.


Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, https://djournal.com

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