It was a disagreement over a bond bill that would allocate funds for roads and bridges that caused the House to unanimously vote to send the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s appropriations bill back to the Senate Monday afternoon.
Lt.Governor Tate Reeves claimed that the House’s decision to recommit HB 1509, which would fund operations for MDOT, was one to push for internet sales tax.
“Do House Republicans want to raise your taxes so badly they’re willing to kill the budget agreement?” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “Are they willing to risk $1.2 billion in spending on roads and bridges so they can pass an unconstitutional tax?”
Speaker of the House Philip Gunn said that Reeves’ statement is a red herring.
“We challenge anyone who claims it is a tax, to show us in the language that it is a tax,” said Speaker Gunn.
Gunn said the “use tax” referenced is one that is already utilized. The Department of Revenue explains the use tax. Click HERE for the description.
Rep. Trey Lamar provided News Mississippi with a portion of the conference report.
In section 6 of the conference report for SB 2939, the bond bill in question, the language of the bill reads:
“An amount equal to the use tax revenue above the first Fifty Million Dollars ($50,000,000) collected from voluntary taxpayers and deposited into the State General Fund during the preceding fiscal year, not to exceed Two Hundred Million Dollars ($200,000,000) shall be allocated and distributed in the manner provided in this section.”
Further in the section, line 988 reads:
“An equal amount to fifty percent (50%) of such use tax revenue shall be deposited into a special fund that is hereby created in the State Treasury.”
Click HERE to see the section of the report.
While the special session could be called at any moment, an agreement may not be reached before the July 1 deadline.
Without an agreement, MDOT would have no appropriations for operations after July 1.
Speaker Gunn said that would not be allowed.
“If we don’t reach an agreement,” said Gunn. “There will be a special session to fund MDOT.”