Sunday, January 9, 2022

Bill Crawford: Nonsense v. Common Sense

 Listening to Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn the top issue for Mississippi’s future is eliminating the personal income tax.

That’s a popular political perspective.

Mississippi Economic Council president Scott Waller told legislators that no business leaders have voiced eliminating the income tax as a priority. He added that some fear it could have unintended consequences.

That’s a frank business perspective.

Corey Miller, the State Economist, said changes to state taxes are unlikely to have any significant impact on the state’s economic growth, employment, or population.

That’s an expert economic perspective.

Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann has urged caution, saying that eliminating 32% of the state’s tax base should be thoroughly vetted. 

That’s a common sense perspective


All too often in Mississippi politically popular nonsense overrides realistic common sense. 

Here’s more. The head of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy wrote an opinion piece recently addressing Mississippi’s lack of growth and prosperity. He blamed it on “bad public policy.”

No doubt true.

He then listed 12 policies his policy center is pushing for state leaders to adopt that would “elevate” Mississippi to a better future.


Remember Blue Print Mississippi? That was the Mississippi Economic Council’s business-led, rigorously-researched planning process to establish policy priorities to make Mississippi more competitive with 12 neighboring states. 

Interesting how little the two lists have in common. 

Dare I say it again? All too often in Mississippi politically popular nonsense overrides realistic common sense. 

Into this setting comes billions of extra dollars for the Governor and Mississippi Legislature to play with this year. 

“The state has an extra $4.2 billion to spend,” Mississippi Today reported last week. It comes from “federal largesse” for COVID-19 recovery, federal infrastructure funding, and increased state revenues driven by federal stimulus spending. 

Most of it is one-time money, meaning it will not be available in the future to cover recurring expenses such as teacher pay raises and tax cuts.

Hosemann explained, “There will be many proposals to use one-time money on fleeting items.” He said his hope is that leaders will focus instead on “generational change.”

“Years from now, we want to be able to point to the positive difference this influx of resources has made in our state,” he said.


The interplay between politically popular nonsense and realistic common sense in our state capitol will have higher stakes than normal this year. Could be a cliffhanger. 

 “My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble” – Proverbs 3:21 & 23.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.


Anonymous said...

Doesn’t matter what they do, pigs will feed at the trough, Mississippi will stay last, and our kids will keep leaving (those that can, the ones we need to keep). Band keeps playing while the ship keeps sinking. No amount of money will fix the gaping hole.

Anonymous said...

Of course, shift proportionately more to the poor by raising sales tax. Typical Republican formula to benefit the rich.

Anonymous said...

The "no income tax" proposal is a pig in a poke.

Anonymous said...

I have lived here for twenty years with a six figure income. I have never paid significant state income tax . I definitely spend more on beer and cigs than I ever paid in state income taxes.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi's GOP leaders want to play at the national table with states like Florida, Texas, and Tennessee. But they are fooling nobody. Mississippi needs every tax dollar just to stay afloat and then some. Eliminating the income tax is like a ditch digger wearing a tuxedo to work to impress the neighbors. Nobody is fooled.

Mike said...

As surely as 2+2=4, losing 32% of revenue will leave a deficit unless the tax burden is shifted to another source. That’s the scary part. Seems common sense ain’t so common!

Anonymous said...

Reeves knows that eliminating the state income tax will not work, unless property and sales taxes are increased to make up the difference. He is just playing his usual political games and everyone knows it.

Anonymous said...

Yup, no sock puppets here on this one KF.

Anonymous said...

It's a shell game, 2022 version, pushed by a governor with a degree in economics and who was the state treasurer. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Drop the state income tax and make up the difference by raising taxes on greens, pork sausage, catfish, and grits. Obviously Fortune 500 companies and people with six figure incomes will flock to Mississippi in droves. Who said common sense ain't here? Right Tater?

Anonymous said...

Is there anyone that actually believes that the poorest, most backwards state in the union giving up 32% of it's income will be anything but a hardship for the vast majority of it's people ? Time for us to find some independent leaders instead of ideologues of the two pathetic political parties we are constantly force to chose from now. I for one am fucking tired of voting for the lesser of two evils.

Anonymous said...

Several states do not have a state income tax. They just moved it over into another tax. You can get rid of it but you will still pay just as much.
The windfall from the feds should be spent on infrastructure. Instead of that most will go to politicians and friends. The rest will be spent on giving out raises then when the money is gone the state will not be able to pay for the pay raises.

Anonymous said...

Nice try, Bill, to take Scott Waller's comment - which was made in a House hearing about Speaker Gunn's 'tax swap' and apply it to both Gunn and Reeves' tax proposals.

Waller did not speak to Reeves' proposal to phase out the income tax - in a manner similar to how the lowest bracket was phased out over the past few years, but was specifically to Gunn's swapping the income tax for an increase in the sales tax.

Two totally different proposals.

Same could be said about Hosemann's comments, but not quite a clearly defined as Waller's. But we know your absolute hatred and detestment of Reeves, so we can understand your trying to throw him under the bus every chance you can get. Or make.

Anonymous said...

If he really wants to make a difference he should tax fast food and sugary drinks

Anonymous said...

If our taxes are the same as Florida, Texas and Tennessee, still nobody will come to this backwater. We would actually have to pay people to come here. A negative 5% income tax might stem the tide.

What has happened to the delta in the last 3 censuses is a view into the whole state’s future.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi can’t afford to eliminate income tax. Not enough revenue from other sources.

Anonymous said...

Why can’t the offset be eliminating 32% of the Budget? Why does it have to be shifted? Surely everyone here knows that there is at least 32% that could be trimmed if not 50%. It seems every other week there is an article about government money fraud in this state.

Anonymous said...

All one has to do is look at the horrendous "Kansas Experiment" to see how this would turn out.

But that would require some research and analysis, of which Reeves is incapable. He's like Pavlov's dog with the bell replaced by the words "tax elimination".

Krusatyr said...

Texas eliminated income tax, but their property taxes and rents are sky high. A home worth $200,000 in Northeast Jackson can cost $800,000 in Austin and taxes are a percentage of total market value there. Of course job opportunities and incomes are higher.

Texas employs toll roads frequently but tolls are reasonable and drivers don't have to stop at a toll booth: a camera registers their plates entering and exiting, then the state bills the driver by mail by month or quarter.

Noted from comments is that, unlike TX, FL and TN, MS lacks anything of sufficient beauty or remarkable recreation to attract steady, profitable tourism. (No, hunting and fishing camps are not big money makers).

Sticky wet weather, biting bugs, muddy water, snakes, poison ivy, litter, pot holes, undrinkable water and angry, uneducated democrat thugs carrying illegal guns killing off one out of every 1,000 in Jackson are not draws.

Personally, I think the doctors here are magnificent, parts of Oxford, Madison and Ridgeland are very pleasant. But Jackson, under this mayor, is a blight on the whole state as it crawls like a filthy beggar, whining for federal pity money.

Anonymous said...

When are we talking about the FBI crime strategy?

Anonymous said...

Texas didn't eliminate income tax - they never had one. Big difference.

Anonymous said...

Good. Tax consumption, not production. Fuck the government. Town, city, county, state, fed.

Anonymous said...

@3:34, Ohhhh noooooos! What will MDOT do without an extra $16M to move a perfectly good goddamned road 12” to the right (I-55 merger with 20) build an unnecessary median and cause a fuckin traffic jam every morning because Jacksonians are too high on vaccines to understand a minor change in their route! Oh whoa is MDOT!

Anonymous said...

It’s called pandering to donors. The funny part is that Tater’s political future is very very ummmmm in doubt.

Anonymous said...

I'm a low tax, small government conservative but I'm also from Texas and what happened there is all of the tax burden was shifted to property owners... making the "American dream" much harder to obtain (and maintain) for the middle class. Make no mistake, that's who will make up the lost income tax revenue here, too.

I paid over $3,000 in property tax here last year. That's pocket change compared to what I would have paid on a similar property in Texas...

Anonymous said...

States like TX offer no income tax as the cherry on top of an economically attractive sundae.

Tate’s going to give up a third of our revenue to put that expensive cherry on top of a pile of s**t, and will be a well-paid consultant by the time it all comes crashing down.

Anonymous said...

One thing Texas has that Mississippi should try. People over 65 have a choice if they want to pay property tax.

Anonymous said...

They better not be thinking about taxing the retirees who don't currently pay income tax and tax them somewhere else. There will be hell to pay if that happens, and possibly retirees leaving the state in droves!

Anonymous said...

Watch out! If they really want to help, eliminate sales tax on groceries. Eliminating our relatively low income tax will ultimately mean a significant raise in property tax. The current income tax is not a significant burden for the majority of the population. Those pushing for this have an agenda. I don’t know what it is but there’s definitely a purpose and it’s not to help the majority of the residents of Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

I am out, of course I was already leaving this god forsaken state!

Anonymous said...

There is an awful lot of the details of the proposed plans being discussed by the 'well informed' commentators above (why should we be surprised by that???)

Back a few years ago, the same things were said when the legislature proposed to reduce the state income taxes' lowest level, being phased in over a few years; and the elimination of the state franchise tax, again being phased in over a few years; and the elimination of the state's inventory tax ---- again, being phased in ovser a few years.


But, it worked. And today, even after increasing spending on several state functions, the state in FY 2021 ended up with a billion dollar surplus.

So --- why not start the elimination of some more of the tax? Its not all at once (as LG Hosemann wants to intimate), it could be phased in over time, as it was a few years ago. It doesnt have to be a 'tax swap' as Speaker Gunn wants to sell while trying to convince you that raising sales taxes on everybody will be a positive thing, it could be a true tax cut by working on the lowest rates of the state's income tax.

Don't think it will be a really great thing for anybody - but, the choice is that the legislature will figure a way to spend that billion dollar surplus and make us be stuck with it for all times forward.

IF, and yes right now the 'if' has been met, the state is collecting more than it is spending, why not start sending some of it back to where it came from? Granted there will be those (like most all the folks who commented above, that think we should just spend more rather than "pander" to those that are sending the money in to the Dept of Revenue regularly. Wonder who's paying their salaries?

Anonymous said...

8:08. You are still responsible for your proposed taxes. You can elect defer them with accrued interest until you sell the property.
They are then due in a lump sum.

Anonymous said...

Where is the exit ?

Anonymous said...

Krusatyr, I agree with everything you said, but I would like to add that the uneducated hillbillies are not attractive to tourists either!

Anonymous said...

Cindy better watch out Tatter’s coming for her seat. He really thinks this will propel him to the US Senate even the presidency.

Anonymous said...

First, the GOP controlled Legislature has been much more fiscally responsible than the Democrats before them when it comes to spending. The problem is, while the Democrats were good at spending money we didn't have, the GOP won't spend money on services that Mississippi should be providing when we do have the funding.

We have a billion dollar surplus because the Legislature had to make several budget cuts after the 2008 recession and we have never brought back a lot of that spending. That's why our roads and bridges are terrible, our state parks are terrible, our prison system is 3rd world level, we have long lines to get a drivers license, we have no one to work in state medical labs, etc. etc. etc. This winds up being the "quality of life" issues that always seem so much better in other states.

Mississippi is NOT a high tax state. Groups such as the Center for Public Policy play a math game by trying to tell us taxes are high here because of the percentage of our income that goes to taxes. That's because we don't earn any money, not because our taxes are too high. I work with a couple of business groups in the state and Mr. Crawford is Correct: none of them talk about high taxes.

The Legislature needs to look at what state government should be doing and how to pay for those services.

Anonymous said...

I understand that Speaker Gunn is going to run against Tater. That will be interesting.

Anonymous said...

The best tax policy is having the lowest possible tax with the broadest possible base. Eliminating the income tax and replacing it with a sales tax would do that. In the process, let's think about how we can incentivize the behavior we need as a state:
Keep young people and attract people from other states: exempt first time homeowners and people moving in from out of state from the first year's property tax.
Keep and attract high quality law enforcement officers: instead of constantly talking about teacher raises, why don't we offer annual retention bonuses (something's better than nothing) to every LEO in the state?
Fewer homeless people on our streets: Increase our mental health and rehab capacity as a state. Many of these people don't belong in prison, but they don't need to be loose on the streets either.
Better infrastructure: Need I say more?
These things will cost money, but making sure the sales tax is high enough to cover them will be worth it. Considering the federal funds we have to work with the sales tax won't have to be very high.

Anonymous said...

For those complaining about Jackson, you're right. It's a blight on the state. Which is why the state should do something about it. The state doesn't want to take it over for two reasons (as far as I can tell): one, who wants that problem? and two, the national media would cry "racism!" Here's a thought: require every city in the state with a population of at least 100,000 to hire a properly licensed city manager by a majority vote of the city council for a five year term. They mayor's duties would be limited to ribbon cutting ceremonies. It wouldn't be a state takeover because the CM would be chosen by the City Council. I realize the Council would select a Democrat, but I have more faith in the council and a professionally trained CM than I do in Chocwe. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

A sales tax instead?

Oh I can go to nearby States to shop and have enough appliances to store for monthly jaunts. The poor cannot, but what's a few starving children?

More property tax? Oh, while housing costs are so high? Great, I'll just move to my vacation home.

God forbid the State should spend money on infrastructure and help out their cities and schools.

Let's continue to pay for the plant and equipment of industries and 7 figure salaries for executives of large businesses with MS " tax incentives" or lack of taxes all together.

If you are going to be for and against something either listen to those whose jobs it is to tell you the truth or shoot off your mouth like politicians in our constant election cycle " offering pie and sky" and low paying jobs since these big boys bring in their management teams.

Anonymous said...

Tatturd, Gunn & Dilbert are all pissing on your leg in plain site and you boys are enjoying it. When it floods your shoe don’t cry to me, your getting what you asked for.

Ben Dover said...

9:51 - Yours may be the worst (or best) cart before the horse post I've ever red. Let's eliminate 32% of our income and only THEN try to figure out how to fix all the other broken spokes in our wheel.

People on the public dole don't pay income tax and the wealth (who are on tour advocating elimination) have multiple ways to avoid most taxes. Who does that leave?

And it's pure horse hockey to pretend/believe/tell me that business and industry are going to come to Mississippi is there is no SIT. Just like it was hockey to tell me the state flag would make a difference.

Sure, the guy on Supertalk ranting about the benefits of elimination and a few other really wealthy folks will benefit but, the others are politicians who are simply at their old game of confusion and trickery.

Heard a guy on radio the other day say he's a craft worker in Alabama and will move to Mississippi and commute if this becomes reality. Dumbass didn't realize his wages are taxed where they're earned, not where he lives.

Anonymous said...

I don't trust anybody whose goal is to become governor. And in the current case I don't trust the current one whose goal is remaining there.

The only person seeking elective office who is worthy of my and your trust is the one who will say up front: My goal is to do what I can for this state in four or five years or less and then return to the private sector and it is my pledge to do that.

Have we EVER heard that? Nope. They get elected and either die in office or retire wealthy and on several fat retirement programs. Look around and tell me I'm wrong.

We used to think there was only ONE type of riding in the wagon. Now we know there are TWO. When you get a taste of that government tit, you just don't want to let go of it, whether you're dependent on entitlements or you're a politician.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...The "no income tax" proposal is a pig in a poke.
January 9, 2022 at 12:55 PM

Please allow me to correct your statement, sort of rearranging your words:

The "no income tax shift" proposal is a poke in the eye from slop-pigs in a pen.

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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.

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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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