Open Thread for this week | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Open Thread for this week

The Governor more than likely will veto the Wellspring Project and the Tobacco/Grocery Tax Bill this week.

Cities around the state will be celebrating the life of Dr. King. The Democrats met Saturday to discuss the Lott endorsement by its chairman, with no mention in the C-L of how it turned out. Guess they were not invited. The deadline for bills to be introduced will be Monday, so people will be able to see the final set of bills that will be considered by the Legislature. That is what is expected. Look forward to your comments.

Previous Comments

ID
170002
Comment

Rep. Fleming, could you talk to us more about Wellspring? I'm inclined to think it's a bad idea, but would like to hear your take on it. Are they going to override his veto of the tobacco/grocery tax reform? Do you know how the meeting turned out Saturday about Mr. Dowdy's apparent endorsement of Sen. Lott? We've heard from Sam Hall several times about them responding in our paper, being that we called it out in our Talk section as a "Say what???" this week (page 6 in the print edition). Got their attention. It is just me, or do the Democrats in the city and state need to grow some balls, so to speak? I think back on how weakly they responded to Mr. Melton's lies about his homestead exemption and, thus, his qualifications to run in their primary. Whey didn't they challenge his position as a Democrat stronger? Afraid of criticism? Who cares? The irony, of course, is that if his administration does not figure out what it's doing soon, then the Republicans will start to blame the Dems because he was a Democrat. So to speak. And the Democrats seem so weak-kneed and scared of what Republicans say about them, that they well roll over and take it. But I digress. Please give us any poop you've heard, Rep. Fleming, on what is happening re the Lott "endorsement."

Author
ladd
Date
2006-01-15T17:15:37-06:00
ID
170003
Comment

I haven't heard anything yet, which is not a good sign. I assume that Dowdy will eventually get around to it, when I am officially the nominee. Right now, the Repubs just have that quote in their arsenal, in case Trent heeds the call to run again. The true Democrats were greatly admonished when they challenged Melton in the primary, being accused of trying to fix the election for Johnson. Once he was the nominee, then they rallied around him, not that he wanted any help from them. That whole Covington-Stokes episode recently shows why we are in trouble in Jackson, not unless of course you own a multi-million dollar corporation, then it is your for the taking. Melton, to settle a political vendetta, took away the contract for maintaining cell phone towers from the only African-American company doing so. He let out bids quickly to show that another firm could do it cheaper, on the CYA principle, but Covington won't go quietly into that good night. But this is a subject for Ben's blog. I just want to see who will sponsor the bill Melton, McMillan and Barbour are proposing about the special judge, since it seems like no one in the Hinds County delegation knew about the idea until the State of the State address. Back on point, I know that there real Democrats in this state that want Trent Lott gone. They may not be on the finance council of the MDP, but they will vote. We just have to see how this is going to shake out. I am beginning to think that regardless of whether Trent runs or not, there will be a Democratic primary in June, and then a sprint to the finish in November. Just a gut feeling. End of ramble.

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-01-15T20:14:43-06:00
ID
170004
Comment

Wellspring: It is a risky proposition, but at least it is out in the open, unlike the beef plant. The state is helping buy land for a project, but it almost has to, since other states are willing to bankroll their shot at grabbing one of these plants. I would have rather seen the effort made in Southwest Mississippi, but Pontotoc, Union and Lee put the deal together. I have not followed the money trail yet to find out why Haley is making a tape endorsing the project, then doing everything politically to kill it. He has even issued out punishment for those GOP legislators who voted for the project, which has been his modus operandi since taking the oath of office. Don't know if there are enough votes to override a veto on this project. T/G Tax: Yes there are enough votes to override a veto on this one, and Haley will be dishing out punishments again.

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-01-15T20:22:37-06:00
ID
170005
Comment

T/G Tax: Yes there are enough votes to override a veto on this one, and Haley will be dishing out punishments again. Will there be any attempts to amend the bill to satisfy local governments, or is it too soon to ask that question?

Author
L.W.
Date
2006-01-15T22:22:30-06:00
ID
170006
Comment

It is my intention to push for a bill that would fix the problem for the municipalities. It is up to Chairman Watson to see what he will do.

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-01-16T07:02:46-06:00
ID
170007
Comment

Wellspring is another ill-advised investment for the northeast waiting to wreak havoc on future budgets a la beef plant. It should be stopped.

Author
Rex
Date
2006-01-17T17:56:28-06:00
ID
170008
Comment

Rex: I think the governor will stop it, but I spoke too soon about it being vetoed. The Senate has not even taken it up yet, so Haley may kill it there. As I have said before, it is a risky proposition, but it is not the beef plant. It is a legitimate, above the board gamble that puts us in the game of luring a major industry to come here. It is not my ideal scenario for economic development, but when other states are competing for the same projects and are willing to put up capital for them, we either have to make the bet or fold. Everyone: The governor has convinced at least three senators, I have been told by sources, to sustain his upcoming veto of the T/G Tax Bill. Now the ball is in Amy's court to hold the senator's in check, and bring the others back in the fold.

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-01-17T20:36:17-06:00
ID
170009
Comment

It is my intention to push for a bill that would fix the problem for the municipalities. It is up to Chairman Watson to see what he will do. Rep. Fleming- I'm very glad that you are taking this potential revenue loss for local governments seriously. What exactly would your proposal be? Also, Councilman Allen is discussing this issue on his blog too.

Author
Justin
Date
2006-01-17T22:12:09-06:00
ID
170010
Comment

Justin, this is the proposal I had mentioned in the Tobacco/Grocery Tax blog: My amendment would have: Kept the tobacco tax increase to 75 cents for the next two years, then a $1 from then on. Lowered the grocery tax to 2 percent with the city and counties getting all of the revenues. Created a sales tax diversion of 6.2 percent to the counties, something they don't have now. Raised the education ad valorem sales tax diversions for the next ten years.

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-01-17T23:23:33-06:00
ID
170011
Comment

Rep. Fleming- Thanks for your response. When you say "Created a sales tax diversion of 6.2 percent to the counties, something they don't have now," do you mean that currently counties do not recieve any portion of the general sales tax? I think that the city of Jackson gets 18% of the sales taxes collected in the city. Is this diversion just for municipalities, not counties?

Author
Justin
Date
2006-01-18T09:43:34-06:00
ID
170012
Comment

I thought that was the case (and mentioned it on the other thread). Sales tax revenue is currently divided between municipalities and the state, regardless of where the tax is collected. I.e., sales taxes collected by the little Dew Drop selling RC Colas and Moon Pies in the middle Issaquena County goes to the state and then gets redistributed but not Issaquena County.

Author
Rex
Date
2006-01-18T09:52:46-06:00
ID
170013
Comment

Another question for Rep. Fleming: Under your plan, am I corrected in thinking that the state would not recieve any sales taxes from grocery sales? So, the cigarette tax increase is intended to replace these revenues? Thanks.

Author
Justin
Date
2006-01-18T10:08:07-06:00
ID
170014
Comment

Justin: That is correct. The cities get a diversion, not the counties. My plan would give counties a diversion for the first time. In Hinds County, for example, until Byram incorporates, under my plan the county would get a diversion from the sales tax generated there. Right now all that money goes to the state. Also under my plan, the grocery sales tax would go directly to cities and counties, with the state not receiving anything. On all the other retail sales taxes, the state would receive funds, sans the diversions for cities and counties. The increase in the tobacco tax would recoup some of the lost revenue for the state, but not dollar for dollar.

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-01-18T10:25:52-06:00
ID
170015
Comment

I ran some preliminary numbers for this suggested amended bill. Rep. Fleming's bill is good for municipalities: it would result in an increase of about $24.3 million per year in city revenues from grocery taxes. On the other hand, this bill is not so good for the state: 1. Replacing the current grocery sales tax revenues with the $1 a pack tax on cigarettes would result in a loss of $97.8 million per year for the state. 2. To offset the loss in revenue from the grocery tax, the cigarette tax would need to be raised to about $2 a pack. 3. The 6.2% general sales tax diversion to counties would result is a loss of about $1.2 billion per year in tax revenues for the state. These are rough estimated figures based on consumer expenditures for the average household in the South from the 2004 BLS survey and on 2004 census population estimates. This table explains the calculations. I'm all for lowering the sales tax on groceries and raising the tax on cigarettes. We must find a way do so, however, without hurting state or local government budgets.

Author
Justin
Date
2006-01-18T11:44:22-06:00
ID
170016
Comment

Sorry. This is the correct link.

Author
Justin
Date
2006-01-18T11:49:44-06:00
ID
170017
Comment

I hate the idea we can't raise Tobacco taxes. It's silly to be have one of the lowest rates in the nation. Even Kentucky raised theirs, and we can't manage it here. Pathetic.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-01-18T16:21:46-06:00
ID
170018
Comment

Yikes, Justin, that table is pretty hard to read for us old folks. Point is, hardly any other states tax groceries. We have to get over it. Find some way. Seven percent on food for your families at home, it's bad. Municipalites, Shmu - etc. But, yes, cites will get socked. Find a way, find a way. Rep. Fleming, take the floor.

Author
sunshine
Date
2006-01-18T16:29:25-06:00
ID
170019
Comment

Justin: Look at your last table again. I think you took the diversion from gross revenue and not from the taxed amount (7% of gross revenue), but maybe I read it wrong.

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-01-19T00:11:35-06:00
ID
170020
Comment

Yep, you're right. It should be a revenue loss of 72 million with the 6.2% county diversion, not 1.2 billion. These estimates probably overstate the revenue losses because they are based on consumer expenditures rather than actual sales and because they use the expenditures of an average household and don't take into account how expenditures vary with income level and household size. It's just a quick-and-dirty attempt to put some numbers behind this talk of tax changes. My hope, Rep. Fleming, is that the legislature demands thorough data from the tax commission and other state agencies and use these data to make sound tax reforms now that the governor has vetoed the initial bill.

Author
Justin
Date
2006-01-19T09:42:49-06:00
ID
170021
Comment

Ladd, practically everyone in city government is from somewhere else except Margaret Barrett. What is your point? Are you from Jackson?

Author
realtime
Date
2006-01-20T18:19:02-06:00
ID
170022
Comment

realtime, read closer, please. I never said anything about where someone is *from.* I'm talking about the qualifications for serving one city while having legal residency in another state. No, I do not have a homestead exemption in Neshoba County or anywhere else I lived before moving to Jackson if that's what you're asking. If that's not what you're asking, then you are missing the point rather dramatically.

Author
ladd
Date
2006-01-20T18:21:20-06:00
ID
170023
Comment

Oh, and I'm also not a public servant or paid by the taxpayers, just to complete the irrelevancy tangent we're on here.

Author
ladd
Date
2006-01-20T18:22:25-06:00
ID
170024
Comment

We now return you back to our regularly scheduled program...Justin, I don't know what is going to happen now. The Senate Finance Committee voted to ovverride the veto so now we have to wait and see when the Lt. Gov will call for the vote. In the House, we would have to act within three days while we are in session. In the Senate, they can wait until the last day on general bills and until the last week on revenue bills. So now the game is afoot. If I was one of those Senators identified in the C-L as changing their minds on the bill, I probably would not want to miss a day for the remainder of the session.

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-01-20T22:10:28-06:00
ID
170025
Comment

Forgive the mispelling of override

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-01-20T22:12:12-06:00
ID
170026
Comment

You should have an edit option in your blog profile. If not, let someone know.

Author
L.W.
Date
2006-01-20T22:15:06-06:00
ID
170027
Comment

Where would I find it? Are you saying I can use it to delete entries not related to the blog discussion?

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-01-20T22:20:12-06:00
ID
170028
Comment

In the menu on the left under WEBLOG, click on Edit Entries. Click on the name of the blog, and scroll down to the bottom. You will see four blue links for editing options. The first two (# COMMENTS, AND EDIT) are the ones you want. # COMMENTS is for individual replies (yes, you can delete the trolls' posts), and EDIT fixes the original post. For more info, click on HELP at the top of the page or send an email to [email][email protected][/email] They'll help you.

Author
L.W.
Date
2006-01-20T23:15:47-06:00
ID
170029
Comment

Or, Erik, come through the office next week for a short blog tutoring session. Ben was in for one today and should be quite adept with his italics and links now. Look out! ;-)

Author
ladd
Date
2006-01-20T23:25:54-06:00
ID
170030
Comment

Thanks guys!

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-01-21T00:19:40-06:00
ID
170031
Comment

L.W.- I was told that I did not authority to edit comments. Oh, well, just the same, thanks. Maybe that is a way to get me into Donna's blog tutorial;)

Author
Rep. Erik Fleming
Date
2006-01-21T00:25:03-06:00
ID
170032
Comment

Don't worry, Erik, we'll get you some authority assigned. ;-) I'm too fried not to check things out—we've just finished a marathon night working on the Best of issue anduploading all our AAN awards entries. So I can't think at. all. now. But I'll get back to you on it. You should have the same clearance as Latasha, but I'll make sure. Ciao, all.

Author
ladd
Date
2006-01-21T01:10:22-06:00
ID
170033
Comment

The alarming thing about this legislation is the lack of understanding about municipal finances the proponents have. As Rosemary Aultman stated on a radio show last week, the only funds available to cities are sales taxes, property taxes, franchise fees and revenue from services (if the city provides water or garbage collection). I would love to see Mississippi be able to not charge sales tax on groceries because this is regressive tax--but it would bankrupt small cities. And there is no question property taxes would go up.

Author
realtime
Date
2006-01-21T12:59:42-06:00

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