Mississippians could face sticker shock if taxes go up to take care of highways.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
Mississippians could face sticker shock if taxes go up to take care of highways. The Senate Highways Task Force chairman proposed a $700 million proposal, but some senators are hoping it never makes it to the floor for a vote.
"Let's find ways of using what we have before we go asking taxpayers for more," said Sen. Will Longwitz, who is a member of the Senate Conservative Coalition.
It's a message with stark contrast to the $700 million tax hike proposal from Sen. Willie Simmons last week. Simmons says it's just one option for more highway funding, but the coalition doesn't think it's a viable option at all.
"Would put a roadblock in front of Mississippi's recovery and would also put the burden on the backs of working families. There is no family in the state of Mississippi that needs a gas tax increase right now and that's why we're opposing it," Longwitz described.
In last week's task force meetings, Simmons said the "option 1" proposal would be more than just a gas tax hike.
"It's also going to include some other things. We feel we need to look at a combination processes that we can utilize and generate the money needed to take care of our highways," Simmons said.
He suggests raising taxes on car tags, titles, tires and other items.
"However you spread it out is not acceptable," Longwitz said.
While there's no official alternative plan from the coalition, they say the legislature's first instinct should be to look at other options before grabbing for more taxes.
"Looking at our existing budget for next year, looking at funds we already have, ways we can cut government waste, government fraud and abuse and use that to plug our critical needs," Longwitz said.
The task force is scheduled to start town hall meetings this fall, and the Conservative Coalition believes that will help to put the public opinion into perspective for the committee.
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