March 7, 2006

Dear Editor:

Right now Mississippi has a once in a lifetime opportunity to make our tax system fairer for all our citizens.

The Legislature has agreed on a bill that will cut in half taxes on groceries, currently the highest tax on food in the nation, and raise the tax on cigarettes, currently the second lowest in the nation.

The final version of the bill also wisely holds the municipalities harmless. In other words, all the tax revenue from the sale of groceries that would go to the municipalities under our old law, will continue to go to the municipalities under this bill.

This is a pro-family, common sense proposal. This bill will save Mississippi families hundreds of dollars a year on their grocery taxes. Everybody has to eat! We have more than half a million children in our state. We ought not to levy taxes on their milk and bread higher than the taxes in 49 other states.

I believe that there are two profoundly important reasons to support this bill:

1. To cut grocery taxes for working and retired Mississippians and their families.
2. To save the lives of thousands of Mississippians who will die from smoking and to save our state hundreds of millions of dollars in cigarette-related health care costs.

I commend our legislative leaders and members for passing this historic bill, and I urge Governor Barbour to sign it.

Sincerely,

ERIC CLARK
Secretary of State