The Tax Man Cometh – Filing Day is Here!

CLARION LEDGER – Philip Gunn defends fuel-tax swap as ‘conservative, sound policy’ in obvious jab at Reeves

Gunn didn’t directly criticize Reeves on Monday, but said: “I am a conservative. I am a Republican. I am not for raising anybody’s taxes. But I don’t stop there. I’m for showing leadership, and for solving a problem.”

The refrain was an obvious response to what Reeves said after Gunn introduced the latest House plan at a press conference last week.

“I am a Republican. I am a conservative. I am against raising gas taxes,” Reeves said last week.

DAILY JOURNAL – Gunn touts conservative groups’ support of transportation proposal

House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, said national conservative groups have endorsed his plan to decrease Mississippi’s tax on personal income and increase the levy on motor fuels – gasoline and diesel – to pay for transportation needs…

…He said conservative groups believe use taxes, such as the tax on motor fuel, is a better way for states to generate revenue than taxes on personal income and corporations. He said a tax on motor fuel would be “a fairer tax” because it would capture taxes from many people who are not paying the income tax.

WDAM – Governor approves sales tax increase in Hattiesburg

Governor Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 3069 late last week. The bill, introduced by Senator Billy Hudson (R-District 45), gives the City of Hattiesburg the approval to add sales tax, proposed at 1 percent, on hotels, motels and restaurants.

“We brought that request for legislation forward to try and continue the conversation about what we could do to help Southern Miss and their desire to renovate Reed Green Coliseum, but also meet some needs in neighborhoods in our own park system,” said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker Monday.

State Rep. Mark Baker looks for logic in McDaniel tweet


MERIDIAN STAR – Governor vetoes change in parole supervision fees

Gov. Phil Bryant has vetoed a bill that he says would cause a financial hardship to the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

Bryant says Senate Bill 2841 would have erased the discretion of department employees or judges to grant hardship waivers for offenders who say they’re too poor to pay $55-a-month fees while on probation, parole or other supervision.

The bill would have made waivers automatic for those fitting the federal definition of poverty. Bryant says the current process has worked, and granting more waivers could cost the Department of Corrections millions of dollars.

CLARION LEDGER – MDE to review how much students test after backlash from parents, educators, lawmakers

Wright said Monday that House Education Chairman Richard Bennett, R-Long Beach, and Senate Education Chairman Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, will serve on the task force, which should start meeting this summer.

“We have heard concerns from parents, lawmakers and educators about the amount of testing on the state and district levels and the time spent on test preparation in schools,” she said in a statement. “We believe that through the work of the task force we can come up with reasonable recommendations that will address these concerns while ensuring accountability among schools and districts to prepare our students for their next step, whether it’s the next grade, the workforce, military or college.”

DAILY JOURNAL – Analysis highlights shortfall in education funding

A new analysis of state-by-state spending on public education found that a high school senior in Mississippi received about $33,000 less in state funding than the national average over the course of his or her public education.

Efforts to rework the state’s public education funding formula died in this year’s legislative session, but debate over appropriate school funding levels continues – and the analysis provides new insight for evaluating state spending levels.

The analysis – based on U.S. Department of Education data through the 2015-16 school year – was done by Steve Suitts, a former chief strategist of the political action committee that unsuccessfully pushed for full funding of Mississippi’s school funding formula under Proposition 42 in 2015. Suitts previously worked at the Southern Education Foundation for almost 20 years and now is an adjunct professor and researcher at Emory University in Atlanta.

VICKSBURG POST – Qualifying for political races ending

Wicker faces a challenge from fellow Republican Richard Warren Boyanton, a businessman from Diamondhead. Six Democrats are seeking Wicker’s seat. State Rep. David Baria, D-Pascagoula; Jenseon Boren of Benton; Jerome Garland; Victor G. Maurice Jr. of Pass Christian; State Rep. Omeria Scott, D-Laurel; and Meridian businessman Howard Sherman.

In the race for the 2nd Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Benny Thompson, D-Bolton, faces a challenge from Troy Ray, an independent, who ran against Thompson in the 2014 and 2016 elections. Roy will not face Thompson until the general election.

The primary for the federal races is June 5, with a runoff, if needed, June 26. The general election is Nov. 6.

Qualifying for the election to fill the unexpired term of former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran ends April 24. No qualifiers were listed on the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website as of Sunday. The nonpartisan election is Nov. 6.

NEWS MS – Governor appoints 7th Judicial Circuit Court District Judge

Governor Phil Bryant announced today that he has appointed Joseph Anthony Sclafani 7thJudicial Circuit Court District Judge, Post 4.

He will replace Judge William A. Gowan, Jr., who retired effective March 31. Sclafani’s appointment will be effective April 23 and will expire on Jan. 1, 2019. The office will appear on the ballot in November. The 7th Judicial Circuit Court District encompasses Hinds County.

Sen. Wicker disappointed Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act did not advance