Gunn provided a run-down of the Legislature’s accomplishments.

On Monday, Speaker of the Mississippi House Philip Gunn spoke at the Stennis Capitol Press Forum where he provided a run-down of the 2022 Mississippi Legislative session.

Gunn touched on “tremendous legislative accomplishments,” including: cutting the state’s income tax, significantly raising teacher pay, allocating $1.5 billion in ARPA funds, establishing a Medical Marijuana program, and much more.

Speaker Gunn acknowledged that the accomplishments he would be discussing were because the Mississippi House and Senate worked together to get it done.

The first thing that Gunn discussed was the passage of House Bill 531 which will deliver the largest tax cut in the state’s history. Signed by Governor Tate Reeves on April 5, 2022, Gunn addressed that it was “one of the biggest things” they did in session this year.

“This tax plan will give $525 Million back to the people who earned it. But, this isn’t the end of our efforts to eliminate the tax on work – it’s a bold beginning,” Gunn said on Twitter following the signing of HB 531.

Highlights of the income tax compromise plan include:

  • Eliminating the 4% tax bracket by 2023
  • Single income taxpayers do not pay taxes on first $18,300 of income
  • Married filers do not pay taxes on first $36,600 of income
  • 5% bracket cut to 4.7% by 2024, 4.4% by 2025 and 4.0% by 2026
  • Provides tax relief of $525 million per year by 2026

READ MORE: GOVERNOR REEVES SIGNS LARGEST TAX CUT IN STATE HISTORY INTO LAW

The Speaker of the House also discussed the approval of the largest teacher pay raise in Mississippi history. The new law gives teachers, on average, an over $5,000 raise and will provide assistant teachers with an average of a $2,000 raise.

Other elements of the plan include:

  • Class A teacher with a baccalaureate degree would start at $41,500.
  • Teachers would receive annual step increases of between $400 and $600 at most every year, including in the first three years of teaching.
  • At five-year marks in a teacher’s career up to Year 20 teachers would receive a larger increase between $1,200 and $1,350 based on their certification. At Year 25, they would receive a $2,500 increase.
  • The base salary schedule does not include any local supplements or state supplements, like extra compensation to locate in certain critical needs areas or become a National Board Certified Teacher.

READ MORE: GOVERNOR REEVES SIGNS LARGEST TEACHER PAY RAISE IN MISSISSIPPI HISTORY

Speaker Gunn spoke on the $1.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds that the state of Mississippi received and how lawmakers allocated about $1.5 million of those funds, leaving a total of $295,307,846 in unallocated funds.

All funds must be obligated between March 3, 2021, and December 31, 2024, and expended to cover such obligations by December 31, 2026.

READ MORE: MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE ALLOCATES $1.5 BILLION IN ARPA CORONAVIRUS STATE FISCAL RECOVERY FUNDS

Gunn also discussed the successes of having the Legislature not issue a traditional bond bill, passing legislation to ban COVID-19 vaccine mandates and passports, and passing both Congressional and Legislative redistricting maps.

The Speaker mentioned the passage and implementation of the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act and applauded State Representative Angela Cockerham’s work on the Mississippi Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, which was signed into law last week.

Gunn spoke on the efforts of lawmakers this session to address workforce development, saying that it will be at the top of his list next year.