A recent report by the American Legislative Exchange Council, “Rich States, Poor States,” placed Mississippi in the top 10 states for economic growth. However, according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “the ‘ALEC-Laffer Economic Outlook Index’, is heavily biased toward states with low taxes and limited government, and the index has failed to predict how well state economies actually perform.”
A better way of examining how our state’s residents are fairing is to control for population growth by looking at household’s median income, the unemployment rate, and economic output per capita. This type of analysis has shown that our state still falls behind both nationally and within the Mid South Region.
In order to improve Mississippi’s economic outlook, our leaders need to support policies that will place investments in key services that allow businesses to flourish. This means investing in:
- K-12 education and four-year & community colleges that produce skilled workers,
- Health care that ensures workers can keep working and stay productive,
- Highways and roads that allow businesses to get their goods to market, and
- Safe and stable communities where both businesses and citizens can thrive today and into the future.
Inherent to these services is the need to generate adequate revenues. A tax system that generates adequate revenue is critical to maintaining vital state services like roads and public safety that Mississippians rely on each day. Furthermore, a system that generates adequate revenue allows the state to invest in education, workforce development and infrastructure – all key services that are critical to the economic development of Mississippi.
Francinia McKeithan Henry, Policy Analyst/SFAI Policy Fellow