Millions Of Dollars In Tax Rebates May Boost State Economy

Nearly $250 million is coming back to Mississippi tax payers as part of President Bush's tax refund plan.

If the entire rebate Mississippi tax filers will receive is spent on new purchases, economist Bob Neal estimates it would generate nearly $17 million to the state's general fund. But it's unlikely all the refunds will be spent on something new. Instead, Neal says people will spend the money on a variety of things.

"I can envision some of this rebate getting spent to pay down existing debt," he says. "That doesn't generate any additional impact in this state. Some of it will be spent outside of Mississippi. That doesn't generate any additional impact in Mississippi. And perhaps some of it will be put into savings. Once again, no additional secondary impact."

The economist also says the tax rebate won't have much of an economic impact at all. The money makes up less than one percent of the state's general fund.

"It's not going to make up for the revenue shortfalls that we've been seeing," Neal said.

In addition, Neal says 37 percent of Mississippians who filed taxes had no taxable income and therefore won't receive a rebate at all. But for the tax payers who will get money back, single filers can expect rebates up to $300, single parents up to $500, and couples who filed jointly can anticipate up to $600 back.

Many Mississippians are just happy to get anything. Margaret Burkes said, "Usually when you get a dollar. You spend it so, that's pretty much what I'll do, spent it."

Tommy Spires doesn't agree.

"I don't know, I'm going to save it, put it in the bank and save it," he said.

Mississippians can expect the refunds to start arriving this summer.