Geoff PENDER: Tax debate has things upside-down in Legislature

Anytime lawmakers consider raising taxes, or cutting taxes, debate gets intense. In Mississippi, the Legislature is considering both, but in a thus-far disjointed and funky way. There’s enough fear and loathing for either proposal to make its passage uncertain this late in the legislative session. This has the state budget in limbo as the deadline draws near to pass one.

There’s a move to cut taxes, for corporations and businesses and individual income. There’s a move to increase them, for everyone who drives, to pay for road work. Powerful business and political interests are lobbying for both in separate, disjointed, efforts, and powerful interests are lobbying against both.

As measures now move from the Senate to the House, there’s talk of loading both proposals into one bill and tacking on borrowing for universities and pet projects and other baubles to make the deal palatable. But at this point, such maneuvering is just as likely to kill both.