With state legislators confronting historic revenue shortfalls as the stagnant economy has slowed state tax collections to a trickle, Mississippi is without question facing both tax hikes and spending cuts as part of the 2009 session.
It’s no longer a question of “if” a cigarette tax hike of some kind will be enacted this year, but “when” and “how much”? The likelihood of the state’s hospitals escaping without implementation of some form of Gov. Haley Barbour’s “hospital tax” provider assessment to offset Medicaid expenditures is also now virtually assured as well.
Why? State revenue shortfalls are such that the Legislature simply can’t afford not to raise taxes and cut spending this session.