Submitted by Douglas Carswell
The moral argument in favor of lower taxes and less government is winning.
An awful lot of what happens in politics is froth. Things that seem important at the time often turn out to be of little consequence. Equally, some of what passes almost unnoticed at the time can turn out to be of great subsequent significance.
Two things happened in the 2022 legislative session that I believe will have consequences for years to come. The first was the bill to combat Critical Race theory (CRT), and the second, the move made to eliminate the state income tax.
An anti-CRT bill was the Mississippi Center for Public Policy’s number one goal, and I am delighted that the model bill we published a few months ago is now law. It is no longer legal to use public money to compel students to believe that one group of Americans are inherently superior or inferior to other Americans.
Why does this matter?
For years radical leftist with an anti-American, anti-Western agenda have got away with advancing their agenda through the education system. Cultural relativism in higher education went unchecked. At last America has woken up to ‘woke’ and said enough.
It will take more than a new law to defeat toxic progressive ideology, but with the passage of this new law ordinary Mississippians will no longer be bullied by those claiming to be our intellectual and moral superiors.
The 2022 session also saw the largest tax cut in Mississippi history. That is of course of immediate importance. But longer term, I believe Governor Tate Reeves signing into law this income tax cut will be viewed as a tipping point.
For decades, Mississippi’s political establishment – previously Democrat, now Republican – seemed to be primarily in the business of soliciting handouts from Washington. Candidates for office ran on their ability to get federal funding from Congressional committees.
If federal subsidies generated wealth, this approach would have made Mississippi the richest state in the Union. But it didn’t and we aren’t.
Instead, Mississippi remains one of the poorest states in America. Welfare dependency, for a state as much as any family, does not alleviate poverty. It perpetuates it.
Winning the battle to cut the state income tax represents a victory for a new way of thinking and a defeat for the old approach.
Economic development in Mississippi does not happen because elected officials cut cozy deals with big companies, or because they siphon off federal dollars to pay for their pet projects. Growth happens when our state becomes more entrepreneurial.
During the 2022 session, the forces against reform mobilized against change. But the significance is that they could not stop it. The moral argument in favor of lower taxes and less government is winning.
Politics in Mississippi was once a competition over who could get the biggest handouts from Washington. In this most recent legislative session, we saw politics in our state begin to become a competition as to who can make our state more competitive. If that happens, Mississippi won’t remain 50th out of 50 states for long.
Submitted by Douglas Carswell. He is the President and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, the state’s conservative think tank.