As deadline for Appropriations, Revenue bills originating in other chamber approaches, Reeves speaks on the elimination of the state’s income tax.
On Friday, Governor Tate Reeves (R) held a ceremonial signing for House Bill 779, which ensures that families of law enforcement officers and firefighters who pass away due to contracting COVID-19 in the line of duty receive full state death benefits.
“While all our law enforcement officers and firefighters made countless sacrifices on our behalf throughout the pandemic, tragically, some made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “That’s why this legislation is so important. Some gave everything for us – including their life – and it’s only right that we give something back to the families they left behind. My administration will always stand beside Mississippi’s law enforcement officers and firefighters, and we will do everything we can to support them and their families in their times of need.”
Following the ceremonial signing, Governor Reeves answered a variety of questions asked by the press. One of the topics he discussed was the elimination of the state’s income tax.
“Eliminating the income tax is extremely important,” Reeves said. “Eliminating the income tax will make Mississippi more competitive and it will also give us the ability when recruiting not only business and industry to our state, but also the ability to recruit more people into our state.”
In response to a question on whether or not he would call a special session if the Mississippi Legislature does not pass an income tax elimination bill, Reeves said that he is reluctant to call a special session. However, he would not take anything off the table and thinks it is an issue that certainly could rise to that level.
“Well, I’m certainly not going to take anything off the table,” Governor Reeves said. “I am very reluctant to call special sessions because I think it needs to be an issue that is of significant importance to do so.”
The income tax, Reeves said, could rise to that level.
“I think that the elimination of the income tax, given the fact that we could be anywhere from $1.4 to $1.8 billion move revenue collections this year, I do think that the elimination of the income tax is an issue that certainly could rise to that level and I’m not taking that option off the table,” Reeves told reporters.
At the beginning of March, Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn (R) appeared on SuperTalk’s Gallo Show and spoke on HB 531, the House’s income tax elimination bill.
“As Republicans, we profess that we believe in being responsible, staying within our means. We believe in less government, less tax. We believe in less spending, free markets. Those are all Republican concepts,” Gunn said.
The Speaker of the House said that this is the opportunity to be “transformative” and to “make a difference in the lives of Mississippians by eliminating the income tax.”
“We want to pass a bill that eliminates the income tax. Now, we have proposed different ways to do that, but at the end of the day we want a plan that eliminates the income tax,” Gunn continued. “What the Senate proposed this week did not come anywhere close to that.”
Gunn said that he and House members will continue to push for the income tax elimination until the deadline comes. If the deadline passes and the Senate does not pass full income tax elimination, then Gunn said that he would request that Governor Reeves call a special session to handle the issue.
The deadline to pass Appropriations and Revenue bills originating in the other chamber is Wednesday, March 16.