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On the Issues: Where do the candidates...

On the Issues: Where do the candidates stand?

By: Magnolia Tribune - November 6, 2023
Campaign Election 2023

During the race for governor, incumbent Republican Tate Reeves, who has twelve years in policy making roles, has focused on past accomplishments. Democratic challenger Brandon Presley, who has not previously served in a policy making role, has proposed a handful of prospective reforms.

IssuesGovernor Tate ReevesCommissioner Brandon Presley
Jobs & The EconomyReeves has touted record low unemployment rates, rising wages, a renewed emphasis in workforce development through the creation of Accelerate MS, and $6.7 billion in new investments in the state economy.Presley has argued that efforts at economic development in Mississippi are not consistent across the state, resulting in some areas with very little investment and that the state should focus on supporting existing Mississippi businesses over working to attract larger corporations. Presley has received the support of several prominent labor unions who advocate for the elimination of “right-to-work” laws.
Tax PolicyReeves proposes the full elimination of Mississippi’s state income tax. He points to several tax reforms during his tenure as Lt. Governor & Governor, including reforms that eliminated by the 3% and 4% tax brackets on income to create a flat tax, a phase down of the remaining 5% bracket to 4%, the phase out of the corporate franchise tax and a bill to allow businesses to fully and immediately expense investments. All totaled, Reeves claims the reforms have resulted in $1.2 billion in tax relief for Mississippians.Presley has proposed two different tax reforms. He wants to stop applying Mississippi’s sales tax to the purchase of groceries. He also wants the state to provide a tax credit to offset the cost of the county tax assessment on car tags.
EducationReeves highlights recent investments in education, including the largest teacher pay raise in state history, as well recent outcome improvements reflected in national testing gains and a graduation rate that has risen above the national average. He has not made school choice an issue during the course of the campaign. Presley has focused on public school funding in addressing education and has identified as a priority “fully funding” the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) formula. Presley has received the endorsement of the Mississippi Association of Educators, a teachers union.
HealthcareReeves has opposed Medicaid expansion, arguing it will cost the state too much money and will not solve problems in the healthcare marketplace. Early in the campaign, he proposed reforming Mississippi’s certificate-of-need laws to allow more providers in the state. He has since proposed a change in the Medicaid reimbursement rate that he claims would yield an additional $700 million a year for Mississippi’s hospitals. Reeves has received the endorsement of the Mississippi State Medical Association’s PAC.Presley has centered his campaign largely around the issue of expanding Medicaid in Mississippi. He contends the policy would result in 231,000 additional Mississippians receiving health insurance coverage and that it would help struggling hospitals across the state. Presley picked up the endorsement of the Mississippi Hospital Association’s PAC early in the election cycle. In the weeks that followed, several large hospital systems left the MHA and the association recently parted ways with its longtime head, Tim Moore.
CrimeReeves has been a supporter of expanding Capitol Police presence throughout the City of Jackson and has signed multiple bills to expand the footprint covered by the Capitol Police and resources available to them. Reeves supported HB 1020 that expanded the Capitol Police’s reach and sought to create both a new court and to allow for the appointment of permanent judges to handle the backlog of criminal cases in Hinds County. The portion of the law that allowed for permanent appointments has since been struck down by the Mississippi Supreme Court. Reeves has received the endorsement of the Mississippi Police Benevolent Association.Presley has said he opposed HB 1020 and has argued that during his tenure as the mayor of Nettleton, he would not have wanted state officials telling him how to run the police department. He has pushed back on the notion that he is soft on crime, frequently citing his family’s law enforcement experience. Presley’s uncle, Harold Ray Presley, was killed while serving as Sheriff of Lee County.
AbortionReeves served as Lt. Governor when Mississippi passed the 15-week abortion ban that would become the centerpiece of the Dobbs case that ultimately overturned Roe. He has touted that accomplishment in making the case that he is the pro-life candidate. Reeves has signed a number of laws to aid crisis pregnancy centers and promote adoption during his tenure. Despite receiving large contributions from national pro-choice advocates, Presley has reiterated that he is guided by his faith and is pro-life.
Gender IssuesReeves signed into law The Fairness Act, which prevents biological boys from playing girls’ sports, and The REAP Act, which prevents physicians from providing gender transitioning treatments to minors. Presley has said that he opposes sex change surgeries for minors and has never been in favor of boys playing girls’ sports. He has said that he would not work to overturn The Fairness Act or The REAP Act.
EthicsReeves has accused Presley of illegally taking contributions from solar power companies that Presley regulated while serving on the Public Service Commission. Presley has accused Reeves of being complicit in the TANF welfare scandal that was revealed during the administration of former-Governor Phil Bryant. Presley has proposed a series of ethics reforms related to campaign finance and lobbyists.
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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.