Pine Belt lawmakers outline state budget expectations

Lamar County Rep. Brad Touchstone said he expects a lot of discussion about public education funding and making sure more dollars are spent in the classroom.

“Despite what a lot of people think, Mississippi makes a very large commitment to public education,” Touchstone said. “For every $1,000 of personal income in Mississippi, a Mississippian spends $40 for public education. That’s about 5 percent higher than the national average. What we’re looking at doing is adopting a student-based formula, which looks at what it costs to educate that particular student versus what it costs to run a school district.”…

…Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, said he has had lots of questions about tax policy, but does expect much change.

“I wouldn’t foresee any major tax legislation coming down the pipeline this year, simply because we’re still implementing the major overhaul of the tax code from this past session,” Fillingane said. “It has several different phase outs of different taxes like the franchise tax, the 3 percent income tax bracket the state currently has, and we’re doing away with. All those are being phased out over a number of years, anywhere from 3 to 10 years of phase out, so we don’t yet know the full impact of that particular legislation. We want to see how it is progressing before we start making any additional major changes to it.”