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SUN HERALD | Editorial: Gunn's plan to phase out income tax is unworkable

Speaker of the House Philip Gunn's proposal to phase out Mississippi's individual income tax is political pandering. It is both deceptive and unworkable.

It is cruel because it gives taxpayers the idea that state government really can, in the words of Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, give them "a pay raise."

But not even Reeves, a former state treasurer, dared to take the idea to the extreme Gunn has done.

Gunn's proposal is to get rid of the individual income tax -- which produces $1.7 billion of the state's $5.6 billion in revenue -- bit by bit beginning in 2016 until it vanishes a dozen years later. Unless -- and you have to appreciate this caveat -- unless state revenues do not increase by at least 3 percent the previous year. So it seems that unless the state not only finds a way to replace the lost income tax revenue but produces additional revenue as well, the taxpayers would have to go at least a year without "a pay raise."

Public policy, especially public fiscal policy, should rest on a much firmer foundation.

Gunn's proposal would be laughable, except that as speaker of the House, he has the wherewithal to pursue it.


Posted February 25, 2015 - 5:53 am

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