Mississippi Voters Back Higher Minimum Wage, Infrastructure Funding, & Child Immunization
Legislature Receives Mixed Marks Heading into Election Year
As the 2019 Legislative session has ended, voters are beginning to thing ahead to the upcoming elections. Millsaps College/Chism Strategies conduced the latest State of the State Survey looking at where Mississippians land on the issues.
This latest survey finds some areas of agreement on issues such as raising the minimum wage in Mississippi, the importance of rural hospitals, restoration of voting rights for felons, infrastructure funding, and required vaccinations for children. Meanwhile, voter reaction is considerably more mixed regarding the state’s general direction, the state legislature, abortion legislation, how to fund infrastructure improvements, and the state sales tax on groceries.
Overall, 72 percent of Mississippi voters support raising the state’s minimum wage, which is currently set at the hourly federal minimum of $7.25, while just 24 percent oppose an increase. A plurality of 36 percent back raising it to $10.00 per hour, 19 percent favor $15.00 per hour, and 17 percent want it set at $12.50 per hour. For the seventh consecutive quarter, voters have identified “fixing our state’s roads and bridges” as the top priority for Mississippi leaders, while 79 percent say the state is not spending enough on infrastructure projects like roads and bridges. Mississippians also overwhelmingly back current state laws that require parents to vaccinate their children, with 74 percent favoring such an approach and 18 percent in opposition.
Other key findings from the seventh quarterly Millsaps College/Chism Strategies State of the State Survey include:
- 56 percent say the issue of preserving Mississippi’s rural hospitals will be very important in determining how they will vote in the 2019 state elections, while only 10 percent say it will not be very important.
- 69 percent favor easing the process for restoring voting rights to former felons.
- Over a quarter of voters favor enacting higher tax rates on corporations to fund more transportation infrastructure projects like roads and bridges. Another 19 percent back creating toll roads, 18 percent back raising the state gas tax, and 18 percent also favor increasing income taxes for higher wage earners. Another 21 percent oppose any new funding options.
- 69 percent favor reforming the way Mississippi applies the state sales tax on groceries—one of just three states to apply the full rate to such purchases. 37 percent favor repealing the sales tax on groceries, 32 percent want to continue applying the tax but at a lower rate, and just over 30 percent favor keeping the sales tax in place as it is today.
- 43 percent believe that decisions about abortion should be left to women and their health care providers, 38 percent think the state should spend whatever it takes in court to defend bills that outlaw abortion even though they will likely be struck down, and 20 percent report to being pro-life but feel that defending legislation that is likely unconstitutional is a waste of taxpayer funds.
You can view the full poll below (it begins on pg 13 of the document):