Governor Phil Bryant has officially issued a Proclamation for Legislature to come back to order for a Special Session beginning on August 23, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.
His proclamation outlines the primary focus for lawmakers; to create the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2018 which claims to provide nearly $200 million in infrastructure revenue annually. MIMA would provide Use Tax revenue collected from online sales to aid in infrastructure repair across the state in three parts.
The first part of the Use Tax would be distributed evenly to municipalities across the states. That money is solely appropriated for the repair, maintenance and reconstruction of dilapidated roads and bridges throughout cities.
Another equal amount would be placed in a special fund with the State Treasury and used to assist counties in paying costs associated with similar repairs.
The third part, equal to a portion of the Use Tax, would be deposited into the Local System Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Fund.
The bill includes several bonds going into the Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Fund, which is also created in the bill and utilized by the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
There is a new tax included in the legislation, a tax for drivers of Hybrid or electric vehicles. These taxes would be paid to the county tax collector at the same time as the annual Highway Privilege Tax. That revenue would then be incorporated with gasoline and diesel fuel taxes.
Notably absent from the call is any mention of the resolution and application of the BP Oil money. This was widely rumored to be part of the special session. Conversation lasted through the entire regular session to split those dollars up across the state to ease the infrastructure needs, and not send it all to the Coast. But this proclamation makes no mention of it at all.
The official word from the Governor’s office concerning the BP Oil money came from Clay Chandler who said a call on the allocation of those funds will most likely be added during the special session once a decision on transportation and a lottery.
What could possibly be the most controversial bit in the bill is the creation of the Mississippi Lottery Law which would establish a state lottery. In the past the Governor and members of the Senate and House have been pro-lottery, however Speaker of the House Philip Gunn has not supported one, believing it to be bad economic policy.
A point of contention with the Lt. Governor could come up again on how the infrastructure money is distributed and what contributions cities and counties are required to bring on their own before receiving a portion of state and federal dollars. His goal as the regular session ended was to ensure that all new monies were allocated with full transparency on where they would be spent.
With the call of the session the assumption is that an agreement has been made or is very close to being made between the leaders of the House and Senate.
READ THE PROCLAMATION BELOW: