YP – Lt. Governor Hosemann: Not one Senator has come to me to say they want to pass the House income tax bill

Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann does not know if there is time for the income tax phase out bill as passed in the Mississippi House last week to make it through the process in this 2021 session.

Hosemann was the speaker at the virtual Stennis Capitol Press Forum on Monday. He spoke on various bills remaining on the table this session, from criminal justice reform to the economic development incentive MFlex, but much of the conversation centered around the income tax phase out legislation.

Generally, the Lt. Governor said he was supportive of reducing taxes and allowing Mississippians to keep more of their money.  Although, as Hosemann said, “I do have concerns about raising anybody’s taxes.”

YP – NFIB: With the Income Tax Bill, ‘The Devil’s in the Details’

“While our members support the idea of eliminating the state individual income tax, the devil’s in the details, and HB 1439 would end up helping some small business owners but raising taxes on specific industries such as manufacturing and farming. In addition, it would increase the cost of doing business in Mississippi by increasing the sales tax on business inputs such as equipment.

“The version of the bill that passed the House last Wednesday appears to do as much harm as good. We will continue to work with legislators in both chambers to thread the needle and try to find some common ground on a final bill that doesn’t pick winners and losers but helps all small businesses.

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YP – OCE report concludes Rep. Steven Palazzo expenditures may have violated House rules, election law

The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) has released a report in the inquiry regarding Mississippi 4th District Congressman Steven Palazzo’s use of campaign funds, complete with spending records and interviews with staff members.  While the report casts a very negative light on Palazzo’s campaign expenditures, it is only a referral for additional action and not a final disciplinary action.

In September 2020, the Office of Congressional Ethics transmitted a referral to the House Committee on Ethics regarding Congressman Palazzo. The matter was extended by the Ethics Committee chairman and ranking member in December 2020, allowing the 117th Congress to take up the review.

According to an OCE release late Monday, Palazzo’s campaign committee, Palazzo for Congress, reported campaign disbursements that may not be legitimate and verifiable campaign expenditures attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes.

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YP – Speaker Gunn named to RSLC Election Integrity Commission

Following the recent announcement of its effort to aid in restoring the American people’s confidence in the integrity of their free and fair elections, the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) today released additional secretaries of state and state legislators who are serving on its Commission on Election Integrity. The RSLC is convening these leading policymakers in order to share and discuss voter-centric current laws and future reforms that make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.

Mississippi Speaker of the House Philip Gunn is the lone representative on this Commission from the Magnolia State.

YP – Auditor’s Office Arrests Municipal Court Clerk in Chickasaw County

Today State Auditor Shad White announced Special Agents from his office have arrested Kathy Smith after she was indicted for embezzlement. Smith is a former municipal court clerk for the City of Houston in Chickasaw County. A demand letter showing she owes $131,697.00 was presented to her upon arrest. The demand amount includes interest and investigative expenses.

Smith is accused of embezzling cash and money orders meant to pay fines levied in Houston Municipal Court. To conceal the embezzlement, she allegedly manipulated records in computer software used to track court-ordered fines. Smith purportedly manipulated records to show payments made by “public works” although no fines were actually paid by public works from January 2013 to April 2018, the timeframe of the alleged embezzlement.

WXXV – NOAA considering earlier official start date for hurricane season

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced they will consider an earlier official start date.

Hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin usually runs from June through November. The revised season would begin May 15th.

Devastating early storms in the last nine years are driving NOAA to take a look at beginning the official season early.