Saturday, October 29, 2016

Bill Crawford: Watch out for tax reform schemes

Legislative leaders brought in an outside expert from the Tax Foundation to push the theory that Mississippi needs to make its business taxes more competitive. She argues lower business taxes, offset by higher user fees, property taxes and expanded sales taxes, will make Mississippi more competitive for business and jobs.

While this approach may make the state more business tax competitive, there is no evidence it will result in more business growth and jobs. Taxes are just one of the many factors businesses consider when looking to expand or open new locations. Market size, wealth, competition and growth prospects; workforce size, skills, wage levels, and future availability; transportation and utilities access and costs; quality of schools and other lifestyle amenities; incentives; and other factors are equally if not more important than business taxes.

Mississippi is already more competitive with its business taxes than it is in many of these other areas. The reality is our market size is small and wealth level is low. Our workforce availability is limited, our overall skill levels low, and our pipeline of future qualified workers from our schools needs improvement. Our transportation infrastructure is in crisis.

Indeed, Mississippi will end up worse off if overdone business tax cuts result in less money for workforce, schools, and transportation. They need more funding, not less, if Mississippi is to become truly competitive.

Individual taxpayers should be especially wary. After all, who else will bear the tax load shifted off businesses?

While individual taxpayers would be losers from the tax expert’s recommended schemes, out-of-state corporations, not surprisingly, would be winners. While touting itself as an independent voice for prudent tax policy, the Tax Foundation’s annual report displays its increasing bias toward business. “Businesses Need Tax Reform” it proclaims, then touts its annual “State Business Tax Climate Index” and efforts to spur pro-business tax reform around the country. Individual tax equity is not touted.

Note, Mississippi’s corporate taxes already rank highly competitive on the business climate index at 12th.

As legislators struggle to cope with persistent revenue shortfalls and what to do about pending business tax cuts, they rummage anxiously for spending cuts.

Interestingly, the day after Mississippi Today reported legislators may take away the $9.4 million the Department of Health spends on tobacco control programs, the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s monthly Pediatric Update expressed alarm about tobacco’s impact on children.

“68,000 children living in our state may ultimately die prematurely from smoking and related health risks,” said the update. “The annual number of kids who become new daily smokers in Mississippi is nearly 4.5 times higher when compared to annual numbers for the United States as a whole. Data like this reinforces the need for interventions focused on prevention.”

Prevention is the primary goal of the Department of Health’s program.

Shortsighted cuts can have long-term consequences, as this one would have for children and children’s Medicaid, overdone business tax cuts would have for Mississippi’s overall competitiveness, and over-taxed individuals would have for future elections.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian (


Anonymous said...

From what I read any business that will move to Ms. does not pay any taxes for many years as part of an agreement for moving to the state. How much better can they get it? $0 taxes is just about as low as we can go.

One question while on the subject. Has the shipyard in Pascagoula ever paid any taxes yet?

Anonymous said...

Kansas has been cutting taxes, reducing government, and eliminating government jobs...just like what Tate wants to do here....

And the economy in Kansas is terrible.

No job growth.

It ha not worked at all.

All they managed to do is put people out of work.

The same will happen here.

But Forty Thousand Jobs Later.. said...

It's worth mentioning, 11:57, that 'the shipyard in Pascagoula' was the first-ever recipient of Mississippi's tax abatement program going back about fifty years ago under the old forerunner of the old BAWI program.

Anonymous said...

What's this " expert's" name?

Anonymous said...

6:57. yes I know. Also know it was for a certain amount of time. possibly 10 years. It was reported a couple of years ago the shipyard had not paid any taxes since that time. 50 years is a long time to not pay any taxes. I remember that when it was disclosed they didn't pay any taxes the shipyard was split and sold. Wonder if the new owners got the same deal?

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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