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Mississippi’s tax structure threatening investment in state’s future

May 7th, 2015

New report shows the state’s tax system has five flaws than threaten Mississippi’s ability to invest in education, public safety, health care and other critical services.

Jackson, Mississippi (May 7, 2015) – Mississippi’s economic growth could be at risk due to weaknesses in the state’s tax system. There are five weaknesses to the state’s tax structure that threaten Mississippi’s ability to fund schools, roads, public health care and other services that promote a strong economy and help hard working families build a secure future, according to a report by the Mississippi Economic Policy Center (MEPC).

In the 5 Threats to Mississippi’s Tax System report, MEPC outlines these weaknesses, including a tax system focused on taxing goods when people are now spending more of their income on services, costly corporate tax loopholes and increasing inequities in income taxes that mean low- and middle-income families pay a larger percent of their income in taxes than the wealthy.

Despite recent revenue growth, Mississippi’s revenue has not returned to the level it was in 2000, forcing years of budget cuts.  State lawmakers responded to the drop in revenue, caused by the 2008 recession, by making multiple rounds of cuts to key services that people rely on each day, including  schools, roads, health care, and public safety. For example, the legislature has failed to invest properly in the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, shortchanging the state’s school children by $1.5 billion since 2008.

“Because of the five flaws in our tax system, Mississippi doesn’t have the resources to give our kids a top-notch education, maintain safe communities, and have a healthy workforce,” said Sara Miller, Senior Policy Analyst for MEPC and the report’s author. “The tax cuts debated earlier this year would have made things far worse and been detrimental to working families who depend on quality schools, safe communities and access to health care.”

“Income inequality, changes in consumer buying patterns, an aging population, and corporate tax loopholes all threaten the ability to move Mississippi forward,” said Miller. “We need a tax system that allows the state to invest in the things that make Mississippi’s working families more productive and provide the foundation of a strong economy. Without these resources, our schools and roads will continue to deteriorate and Mississippi’s ability to compete in the global economy will be in jeopardy.”

 

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