The legislative session in Mississippi began this week and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves has already taken an important stand in defense of Mississippi taxpayers by rejecting a proposal put forth by Senate Transportation Committee Chair Willie Simmons (D-Cleveland) to raise the state gasoline tax. Reeves referred to Sen. Williams’ proposal as “a non-starter” in the State Senate.
With a slew of tax increases signed into law by President Obama over the last five years, including the new wave of federal tax increases set to take effect in 2014, it’s imperative that state lawmakers avoid piling on with further tax hikes at the state level. Mississippi taxpayers are fortunate to have a Lieutenant Governor who recognizes this truth. Providing further peace of mind for Mississippi is the fact that Gov. Phil Bryant is one of the 13 U.S. governors who has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written commitment to oppose any and all tax increases.
In addition to declaring tax increases dead on arrival, Lt. Gov. Reeves has included several pro-growth, free market proposals in his 2014 legislative agenda that would expand choice and reduce wasteful government spending. Specifically, Reeves has indicated that he would like to pass legislation that would allow students to cross school lines to attend a charter school. This is a common sense reform that would expand parental choice in determining which school best fits their child’s needs and allow children to escape substandard schools.
Reeves also expressed an interest in performance-based budgeting. Instead of simply using the traditional method of baseline budgeting, performance-based budgeting evaluates government programs and agencies based on their effectiveness and allocates them revenue accordingly. Performance based budgeting is often utilized in the private sector, and transitioning state government to a similar system has the potential to save taxpayer dollars. This policy brief by the Commonwealth Foundation explains the idea at more in length (also referred to as priority or reality based budgeting).