SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - There is a plan being circulated at the highest levels of Mississippi state government to cut state income taxes. At first mention, many would certainly be in favor of cutting any tax. But as always there's a catch.
Mississippi Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn wants to swap the income tax cut for an increase in the state fuel tax; raising what we pay at the pump by 8 cents per gallon over the next four years. The state tax would go from 18 cents per gallon, to 20 cents, then 22 cents, then 24 cents, then 26 cents per gallon.
The idea is the fuel tax dollars are specifically directed to pay for maintenance and road improvements. Those who use the roads essentially pay for them through the fuel tax.
Mississippi certainly could use additional spending to improve roads and failing bridges. While this all sounds reasonable, we urge taxpayers to watch lawmakers closely on this. Will the tax cut equal the tax increase? And if it does, will they keep the income tax cut after a few years? If not, this would not be a tax swap, just a plain ole tax increase that took a little longer to take effect.
This plan can work. Taxpayers need to hold lawmakers accountable now and in the future on all tax plans. That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WLOX-TV General Manager