Saturday was the deadline for legislators to file House-Senate agreements on how much the state plans to borrow in bonds in 2017, and whether it’s going to change tax policies. However negotiators filed fake placeholder bills on those two issues to buy themselves until at least Monday.
“It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if we don’t do something on tax cuts, the lieutenant governor isn’t going to sign a bond bill,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jeff Smith, R-Columbus, said.
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves told reporters Friday that he’d like to hold the borrowing amount to $200 million, but Rep. Trey Lamar, R-Senatobia, said House members are pushing for more borrowing to fund university projects.
“The House was not going to compromise an important position just for the sake of putting together a bill at the last minute,” Lamar said.
Reeves continued to push for tax cuts, saying lawmakers shouldn’t be deterred by current revenue weakness. The Senate passed a $575 million tax reduction bill, including a phase-out of Mississippi’s $260-million-a-year business franchise tax over eight years. His proposal would also cut income taxes by more than $300 million, mainly for individuals, and lower self-employment taxes by $10 million. House members have been negotiating about tax cuts, but have wanted to push their effective date back to Jan. 1, 2018, which means they wouldn’t decrease money for the 2017 budget. Reeves said Saturday he’s willing to negotiate over the start date.