The 2022 Mississippi Legislative Session commenced on Tuesday, so we sat down with Governor Tate Reeves to talk about what he wants to see out of the upcoming session.
Elimination of income tax
First and foremost, Reeves wants lawmakers to “push us towards a stronger economy” through the elimination of income tax.
“The number one thing that the Mississippi Legislature needs to focus on is helping to create an environment which encourages long-term capital investment and long-term job creation in our state,” he said. “It’s the reason I’ve been talking for several years about eliminating income tax.”
According to Reeves, the elimination of income tax would make Mississippi more competitive with the likes of Texas, Tennessee, and Florida. The first-term governor has suggested a five-year phase out.
“I’m optimistic that we’re going to make further movements towards officially eliminating the income tax,” the first-term governor concluded the topic with.
A ban on the teaching of CRT
Reeves, as well as Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, have expressed in the past that they would like to the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) banned in Mississippi Schools. Reeves reiterated that point on Monday.
“In my executive budget recommendation that I released just six weeks ago, we called on the Mississippi Legislature to outlaw any teaching of CRT in the state of Mississippi, and I’m hopeful that when the legislature comes in [on Tuesday], they’ll get to work on doing exactly that,” he said.
If you’re not familiar with the term, CRT is an academic concept that race is a social construct that is embedded in United States legal systems and social institutions. According to the Mississippi Department of Education, CRT is not taught in Mississippi schools.
Further funding of Capitol Police
Legislators do not have any control over the Jackson Police Department (JPD). However, they do fund Capitol Police, a unit of the Mississippi Department of Safety that’s in charge of protecting the boundaries of the Capitol Complex Improvement District.
Earlier this year, Reeves announced a public safety initiative, expanding Capitol Police’s patrol duties to Jackson State, Belhaven, Fondren, as well as the downtown area. Reeves hopes legislators will vote to allot funds that will nearly double the number of Capitol Police officers as homicide rates in Jackson are at an all-time high.
“We have 78 officers today. I propose we move that to 150,” he said. “We are going to work to get more funding, because police presence works.”
Reeves is also optimistic that an increase in Capitol Police officers will encourage city leaders to invest more money in JPD.
“We’ve seen a significant decline in the total number of officers at the Jackson Police Department, and I’m hopeful that the city leadership will see the need to start reinvesting in the police as we’re certainly going to do that in our capitol complex.”
To watch the full interview with Reeves, click here.