Bill would use casino taxes for bridges, little for tourism

JACKSON, MISS. — Mississippi lawmakers met Sunday and neared final approval of House Bill 1630, which would use $36 million a year in casino taxes mainly to rebuild deficient bridges on state highways.

Lawmakers agreed after casinos opened to use that revenue stream for road projects to improve access to casinos. But with those projects completed and bonds mostly paid off, the money in recent years has been flowing to the state Department of Transportation to spend as it wants.

Under a conference report between to the House and Senate released Saturday, House authorizes $200 million in bonds for bridge repairs, lower than the $400 million proposed earlier. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jeff Smith, R-Columbus, said the total amount was lowered because of fellow Republican and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ opposition to borrowing. In 2012, the first year of Reeves’ term, he refused to agree to any bond bill.

Sunherald
3/29/15