Mississippi Speaker of the House Philip Gunn has slightly changed his position on the state’s plan to phase out income tax, stating that he is open to hearing other proposals that would give money back to taxpayers.
The income tax cut, otherwise known as the Mississippi Tax Freedom Act of 2022, was signed by Governor Tate Reeves in early April.
“We had about $800 million more than we were even spending and I advocated that it was time to give some of that back to the taxpayers,” Gunn stated. “We are collecting more revenue from our citizens than we’re even spending, let’s return some of that to the taxpayers.”
According to HB 531, approximately $525 million in tax cuts would be phased in over the next four years, along with the elimination of the 4% tax bracket in 2023. After this year, the 5% bracket would be dropped to 4.7% for 2024, 4.4% for 2025, and 4.0% for 2026.
“I think, at the very minimum, that we ought to maybe escalate that plan to into one year or two years,” Gunn explained. “With this $1 billion of excess, I think we have the ability to move that, bring it forward, and get it fully implemented sooner rather than later.”
Gunn has also stated that if a total tax elimination is not possible, he is open to discussing reducing the top income tax bracket to 3.75% or 3.5%.
“There’s not been a whole lot of support in the House in my conversations for such a plan,” Gunn added. “What I would say is that if we have the ability to do that, then let’s just make it a more permanent tax relief.”
The House Speaker announced in November that he does not plan to seek reelection after the end of his term, which officially ends on January 2, 2024.