SuperTalk Mississippi

Hob Bryan says no to tax cuts, MAEP changes

JACKSON, MISS– On Tuesday, the first day of the 2017 Legislative Session, when the echo of the gavel had just quieted in the Senate Chamber, Senator Hob Bryan stepped up to the podium for the first time this session. 

He wanted to nix the legislation passed last year that would allow for $415 million in tax cuts.

“I’m concerned about the process,” said Sen. Bryan Wednesday. “I’m concerned about passing a budget which no one understood.”

Sen. Bryan said the bill was hurriedly passed through after lawmakers only had a few hours on a Sunday to read it, and that when a request was made to allow for typographical errors to be made, wording was also changed in some of the legislation.

Governor Phil Bryant signed that legislation into law in May of 2016. It calls for a $415 million dollar tax cut over the next twelve years. 

The legislation in reference (Senate Bill 2858) known as the Taxpayer Pay Raise Act, states that the legislation will phase out the $260 million annual corporate franchise tax.

In addition, $145 million would be cut from the taxpayers’ pockets. If one makes at least $10,000, this will save about $150 a year.

These new changes won’t be activated until 2018, however, the self-employed will start catching a tax break in 2017. That’s a cut of over $10 million over a three year period.

Sen. Bryan said this does nothing for the current status of the state’s finances.

“The first rule of holes is, if you’re in a hole, stop digging,” said Sen. Bryan. “We need to repeal all these special interest tax cuts to the tune of billions of dollars, and let’s start by doing that.”

Sen. Bryan spoke against another action of the legislature, which was hiring the nonprofit EdBuild from New Jersey to look at the Mississippi Adequate Education Program formula.

“We should fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program,” said Sen. Bryan. “And stop this nonsense of outsourcing of legislative function to an outfit from New Jersey that can’t even do its homework.”

Edbuild was supposed to have recommendations for the MAEP formula by the end of 2016, in time for the legislative session. EdBuild CEO Rebecca Sibilia told News Mississippi at a public forum in November that the organization would continue to work with the legislative body through the process.

One recommendation was mentioned at that time.

“Teacher salaries need to be addressed,” Sibilia told News Mississippi.

Senator Bryan stands by the 20 year-old formula, which he co-authored 20 years ago.

“There’s nothing wrong with the formula,” Bryan said. “All we need to do is fund the formula.”

News Mississippi will continue to follow the legislative session.


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