Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves was the speaker for the first luncheon of the year hosted by the Stennis Institute. He touched on a myriad of topics including population shifts, growing our downtown Jackson area, how to continue to keep college graduates in Mississippi and the state of Mississippi’s revenue.
He seemed in pushing back on the prevailing media sentiments that generally portray Mississippi’s budget as “sluggish” and economic performance as anemic. He said that the popular phrase seems to be that previous tax cuts “didn’t work” or that economically we are “bad off as a state,” but with the numbers he brought, he suggested a different opinion.
Right now, Mississippi’s unemployment rate is at an all-time low at 4.8 percent. The GDP growth rate was 2.9 percent this year and according to the Lt. Gov. there are roughly 40,800 jobs available through the Mississippi Works website. He quoted the South Carolina Governor who recently said “We use to have people out looking for jobs, but now it seems we have jobs out looking for people.”
In the most recent legislative budget report sent out Monday morning showed (shown below) in the first six months of the 2018 Fiscal Year revenue had increased 1.72 percent year over year. December FY2018 General Fund Collections were $28,146,811 or 6.04 percent above December FY 2017 actual collections.
Use Tax was up 16.7 percent
Individual Income Tax up 7.14 percent
Insurance Tax up 13.18 percent
As expected since the Corporate Tax cuts were initiated it dropped 8.9 percent. When it comes to those Corporate tax cuts, he was adamant that any attempt to repeal or delay them would be dead-on-arrival in the Senate Chamber.
Overall he gave a positive stamp on Mississippi’s economic environment saying it is strong and provided compelling evidence.
When asked about future talks of tax changes this session he was hopeful to find a way to increase funding for infrastructure but repeated prior remarks to a potential gas tax saying it is unlikely to make it through the Senate when a 3/5 vote is required to pass any revenue measure.