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Gov. Reeves proposes end to state income tax

Monday, Gov. Tate Reeves announced his Fiscal Year 2022 Executive Budget Recommendation, in which he proposed to eliminate the state income tax.

The elimination of the tax would save a Mississippian making $40,000 approximately $1,800 in taxes. As lieutenant governor, Reeves passed the Taxpayer Pay Raise Act, which began the phase-out of the 3% income tax. FY2022 is the first year for the tax to be completely eliminated.

“Because this plan is a phased approach, we will be able to endure adequate funding will be available for education, law enforcement, health care and transportation priorities,” Gov. Reeves said. “It will not be necessary for us to increase other taxes in order to make up for lost revenue from the elimination of the income tax.”

The budget summary also highlights funding the police, protecting small businesses, creating a Patriotic Education Fund, supporting quality education, increasing workforce development, funding the Coronavirus response, funding the judiciary and protecting the integrity of Medicaid.

Education

In his budget, Reeves recommends $2 million to train and prepare teachers across the state in computer science courses to provide K-12 students with coding, cyber training, robotics and artificial intelligence skills. The governor is also recommending $3 million to fund more coaches to target math.

“We have seen the success of reading coaches as a tool to boost the early learning for our children. We need to accelerate recent successes in results for math — setting children up for success,” Gov. Reeves said.

Reeves also proposes investing $28 million in the School Recognition Program, a performance-based program which rewards teachers in A-rated schools, or in schools that improve by a letter grade with financial incentives.

“I am recommending this program be fully funded … to ensure our hard working teachers who continue to maintain excellent school ratings and those who work to improve a rating for a school get the well-earned reward,” Reeves said.

The governor also proposed limiting funding for school districts that have gone fully virtual in instruction time. Saying that these districts receive funding for in-person operational expenses that are not being utilized, while other districts who continue to have in-class instruction are “at a financial disadvantage,” Reeves said he would limit funds to “districts unwilling to provide the option of essential classroom instruction.”

Workforce development

Reeves also proposes providing $50 million in one-time funds to accelerate workforce growth.  Those funds would be used to facilitate six specific goals as listed in the budget: modernize and expand community college training programs; provide scholarships or wage assistance to help low-income citizens get into training programs or apprenticeships; develop industry certified credentials or programs in high-school; grow the state’s path of IT-based skills; expand dual credit programs in high-schools; and provide incentives for high school career technical courses.

“I have always promised to be a good steward of the taxpayers’ dollars, and this budget reflects that commitment to each of you,” Reeves said.

The full budget can be found here.