Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves joined Y’all Politics on Tuesday for an exclusive interview where he discussed his thoughts on the recent ruling by the state Supreme Court on Initiative 65 and the initiative process, a possible income tax elimination in the 2022 session, and the case before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the 15-week abortion ban.
Watch the full interview with Governor Reeves below.
Initiative 65 and the Initiative Process
Reeves said a special session to address the medical marijuana program was a possibility.
“There’s a lot of conservations that have to happen,” Governor Reeves said. “There’s got to be a consensus formed on what that program may look like prior to a special session being called on this particular topic.”
Tackling the initiative process is a bit different, in that it will require the Legislature to put a referendum on the ballot for voters to amend the state constitution and change the language that is currently in question. No statewide General Election is scheduled until November 2022.
Income Tax Elimination
Governor Reeves said his office is working with legislative leaders to get on the same page to eliminate the state income tax.
“I’m extremely encouraged that we have general consensus that this is a direction we want to move to eliminate the income tax,” Reeves said, noting that throughout the last session all state leaders have gotten on board the idea after we called for it in his State of the State Address.
As for any forms of tax swaps to offset revenues, Reeves said he is “for eliminating taxes, not for swapping taxes.”
The Governor noted that the “naysayers” were against the 2016 income tax cut, saying it would lead to fiscal calamity. However, Mississippi is in the best financial shape in the state’s history, Reeves says, with revenues currently $800 million over this fiscal year’s estimates.
SCOTUS Considering 15-week Abortion Ban
Governor Reeves said he was pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court is considering Mississippi’s 15-week abortion law, saying the case will have potential ramifications in many states. He said that while Democrats may use this as an excuse to further calls to increase the size of the court, the reason the case is relevant now is clear: the science.
“On this particular case, the far left wants to argue that this case is going to be heard because the court has changed,” Reeves said. “But make no mistake, the reason this case is being heard is not because the court has changed, but because the science has changed.”
The Governor said the science on when an infant’s heart begins beating, their lungs are being formed, and when that life can live outside the womb has advanced since Roe v. Wade was decided in the 1970s.
Governor Reeves stated that he does not expect any mask mandates to be reinstated once his current order expires, namely those related to K-12 schools. This means masks will not be required for students heading into next school year, which will begin for most students in August 2021.
The vast majority of public schools in Mississippi have been open for in-person learning since August 2020 and are ending their current school year later this month.
Reeves also recently announced that Mississippi would end accepting the additional federal pandemic unemployment benefits on June 12th. The Governor said the circumstances have changed over the past year, and workers have opportunity to get back to work across the state.