Sid Salter: Mississippi infrastructure bill faces hurdles

In the Mississippi Legislature, early hopes abounded for a “tax swap” of sorts — a cut of some taxes in exchange for an increase in state fuel taxes. But lingering state revenue shortfalls in recent months continue to put a damper on that scheme.

Still, the political drums suggest lawmakers will entertain a reasonable tax hike package dedicated to infrastructure. The problem is anticipated tax cuts for corporations and for individual income balance well enough with a tax hike aimed at fixing roads and bridges — that is, until revenue shortfalls create increasing fears about the overall state budget.

Reports, like statistics, can be manipulated to illustrate a plethora of legislative positions. But the “Mississippi roads and bridges aren’t so bad” argument is rather laughable. Despite the best efforts of MDOT and county road crews, that argument fails the “drive 100 miles in any direction” test in Mississippi.

ClarionLedger
3/23/16