Mississippi Department of Transportation

Lottery is a big win for Mississippi

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www.wxxv25.com – Brooke Parker – 2022-12-30 17:37:39

You may have noticed old roads being paved or new school books, or laptops, for your children, but did you know the lottery may have paid for it?

The highway fund was created when the lottery law was passed in 2018. The first 80 million dollars in proceeds from the lottery is allocated to the for ten years.

All proceeds after the first 80 million goes to education.

This year, the Mississippi Lottery Corporation has sent $192.5 million, 14 million more than in 2021, with more to come.

Since 2018, each county in the sixth…

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MDOT urges coastal residents to plan for hurricanes


www.wxxv25.com – WXXV Staff – 2022-06-30 16:38:32

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HATTIESBURG, MISS. –  is officially underway and the () is urging residents to prepare now.

“After a quiet June, the tropics are starting to heat up as we move into July,” said Commissioner Tom King, Southern Transportation District. “You can count on a tropical storm or hurricane entering the Gulf over the coming months. By taking…

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Caldwell postpones $100M emergency funds


Caldwell holds up $100M emergency road, bridge money for cities and counties

Northern District Transportation Commissioner John Caldwell postponed the disbursement of $100 million to cities and counties for emergency road and bridge needs Tuesday saying he wanted more details on how the funds were being divvied.

Caldwell said he had told staff he wanted data on how the projects were selected before on them. Because he said he did not have that information, he voted against approving the list of projects Tuesday at the monthly Transportation Commission meeting.

The other two commissioners – Tom King of the Southern District and Willie Simmons of the Central District – voted to approve the funds, but the law creating the Emergency Road and Bridge Fund in a 2018 special session mandated a unanimous vote of the commission to spend the money.

“We will get it worked out,” Caldwell said after the meeting. “I asked them (staff members) not to put it on the agenda if they did not have the data. I did not think they were.”

The appropriated $100 million for the fund during the 2022 session. The commission was voting Tuesday in an attempt to disburse the funds before the new fiscal year begins July 1.

“We told them in April not to put this out at the last minute,” Caldwell said. He said the hoped to have the list of projects finalized by early June so that it could presented to the Mississippi Municipal League and the Supervisors Association during their annual conferences and then the commission could vote on it at the Tuesday meeting.

The Legislature created the Emergency Road and Bridge Fund in a 2018 special session focused on fixing the ’s crumbling infrastructure, and helping local governments that were facing widespread emergency bridge closures because of disrepair.

In earlier rounds of funding for the program, was able to use some of the money — about a third — on state projects. But in this year’s session the Legislature, flush with money, provided more direct funds to MDOT and decreed that the entire $100 million it allocated to the emergency fund go only to county and city projects.

The Emergency Road and Bridge Fund has an advisory board, but the three-member elected state Transportation Commission must officially – and unanimously – sign off on projects. MDOT staff vets and analyzes the projects and makes efforts to spread them evenly through the three state transportation districts.

White said the plan initially was to use an existing list of approved city and county projects, but that because of inflation and other issues, the advisory council and MDOT staff decided to reopen the application process for the $100 million.

“The law (providing $100 million) was passed in April, and we opened the applications in mid-April to May for locals to apply,” White said. “… In keeping with what we’ve done since 2018, we used computer data analytics, had staff manually go through each application, and also followed the legislative intent that we have equity in projects across the state.”

White said the vetting took some time, and the recommended list was presented to the advisory council a little over a week ago. The council approved the list, White said, then it was provided to the Transportation Commission a week ago.

White said he intends to present the list again for ratification at the commission’s next meeting on July 12, and hopes that Caldwell will have had enough time to review it and the panel will vote unanimously. But under the law, White said, the money sits in limbo until the commission unanimously approves projects.

White said counties and cities presented more than $700 million worth of projects for the $100 million available. He said there were 378 applications, including 297 from counties and 81 from cities or towns. Of those, he said, 54 county projects and seven city or town projects were chosen to present to the commission for the $100 million.

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

MDOT, Governor Reeves remind the public “Work zones are a sign to slow down”


www.wxxv25.com – WXXV Staff – 2022-04-11 18:58:09

Nwza Week 2022 Graphic

JACKSON, MISS.— The () and Governor Tate Reeves are joining forces this week to remind the public that “Work zones are a sign to slow down,”  the theme for 2022’s National Work Zone Awareness Week, for April 11-15.

To call attention to the life-and- issues facing workers and the public in work zones, Gov. Tate Reeves has proclaimed April 11-15 as “Work…

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Gunn scales back his income tax elimination proposal


Speaker Philip Gunn scales back his income tax elimination proposal

House Speaker Philip Gunn on Wednesday offered a greatly scaled-back income tax elimination plan — a peace offering amid a tax cut standoff with the Senate that threatened to derail the 2022 legislative session in its final days.

Gunn also said the House would not block spending of federal pandemic stimulus money or setting a budget for next year. But he made clear that the House could hold up spending more than $2 billion in surplus state money and other measures over the tax debate.

READ MORE: Cities, counties urge lawmakers to approve federal stimulus spending amid tax cut standoff

And he reiterated, as he has since last year, that he wants Mississippi’s personal income tax eliminated — not just cut — even if it takes many years to do so.

“We have sent at least four different proposals or plans to the Senate,” Gunn said. “… We have extra revenue. If we don’t give back to the taxpayers, what then does the Senate propose? Spend it.”

Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann in a statement on Wednesday said, “We understand the House is now prepared to allocate the one-time (federal stimulus) funds and we look forward to working with them to finalize a plan.”

But on tax cuts, Hosemann to stand pat on the Senate proposal. He said the Senate has “a conservative plan” that “includes cutting taxes and taking care of core government services—not gutting them.” He said he’s not opposed to someday eliminating the income tax, but that can be addressed over time.

The latest House proposal is to eliminate the state personal income tax — which generates about $1.8 billion, or one-third of state general fund revenue — by $100 million a year until it’s gone. The new proposal has a six-year “repealer,” meaning lawmakers would have to review and reinstate the plan in six years. Besides, Gunn noted, the could “suspend” the tax cuts at any time if the budget tanks. Elimination would take 18 years under the new proposal.

The $100 million a year cuts in income tax would mean about $100 a year to a Mississippian making about $40,000 a year or $200 for a couple making $80,000.

“This ($100 million a year) would be about 1.5% of our budget, or a penny-and-a-half on the dollar we would be giving back to the taxpayer,” Gunn said. “… We have about $1.5 billion in excess revenue right now, and we’re on pace to have about $2.5 billion … We believe we have enough revenue to give some relief to the taxpayers, and we want to do that before we spend these excess dollars.

“We have addressed every Senate objection,” Gunn said. “… The only remaining objection is, do you spend the money or give it back to the taxpayers?”

Republican Gunn and the House leadership have pushed for personal income tax elimination for two years now, but have been thwarted by Republican Hosemann and his Senate leadership. Hosemann says the current budget surplus is the result of billions of federal dollars being dumped into the state and is likely fleeting. He said eliminating a third of the state’s revenue during uncertain economic times is ill advised. Senate leaders have said that there should be plenty of opportunities down the road to cut or eliminate taxes — depending on what the economy does.

Nevertheless, Hosemann and the Senate have proposed what would also be the largest tax cuts in state history, plus a one-time rebate for taxpayers this year ranging from $100 to $1,000 depending on income.

But House leaders have called the Senate tax cuts a half measure, and say that eliminating the personal income tax would draw people and businesses to Mississippi. Hosemann and Senate leaders counter that improving education and infrastructure in the poorest state in the nation would do more to draw people and industry.

Gunn’s House tax elimination proposal has been through numerous iterations since last year. It started as more of a tax swap, phasing out the personal income tax while raising the sales tax on retail and other goods by 2.5 cents-on-the-dollar. It had “growth triggers” that would have eliminated the personal income tax with state revenue growth over years.

Facing opposition from various business interests, Gunn has scaled back, then recently eliminated the sales tax increases. Gunn has also retreated on cuts to car tag fees and reducing the sales tax on groceries, although the Senate still proposes cutting the tax on groceries from 7% to 5%.

The Senate has recently increased its proposed tax cuts amid the debate, but stood firm against eliminating the income tax. Most recently, Hosemann proposed reducing the state’s top, 5% tax bracket to 4.6% over four years, then elimination of the lower 4% tax bracket over the next four years after that. Originally, the Senate had proposed only the phase out of the 4% bracket. The new, eight-year Senate tax cut plan would cost about $439 million a year when totally implemented.

Hosemann and the Senate are also proposing to suspend the state’s 18.4 cents-a-gallon gasoline tax for six months using about $215 million in tax dollars on hand to reimburse the , which uses the gas tax for roads, bridges and matching federal dollars. House leaders said would probably barely notice such a break with gas prices currently so high.

Mississippi city and county leaders on Wednesday welcomed Gunn’s commitment that the House would not block spending of federal money over the tax cut battle.

Mississippi cities and counties are receiving a combined $900 million from ARPA. The state is receiving $1.8 billion, and the Senate and House have offered proposals for the state to match local government infrastructure spending to allow for more meaningful upgrades. Many cities and counties have dilapidated water, sewerage, roads and other infrastructure, and the ARPA funds offer what Hosemann has called a “transformational, generational” opportunity.

READ MORE: Cities, counties urge lawmakers to approve federal stimulus spending amid tax cut standoff

Hosemann had decried Gunn and the House’s threats to hold up ARPA spending over tax elimination. This week, leaders of associations representing 299 cities and 82 counties in Mississippi called on lawmakers to move forward on the spending to allow local governments time and resources to make major infrastructure improvements.

After Gunn’s announcements Wednesday, Shari Veazey, director of the Mississippi Municipal League that represents city governments, called Gunn’s pledge “progress.”

“We are very supportive of them moving ahead with the ARPA funds,” Veazey said. “That sounds like progress. We have cities with shovel-ready projects … But it takes time to engineer and plan a project, bid them out, and then the actual construction. These things can seem to move at a snail’s pace — we have supply chain and other issues now, too — and the sooner they could get started the better.”

Hosemann and others have warned that delaying the ARPA spending could result in losing the money, if the state missed federal deadlines for the spending, or if Congress decided to take back unspent money.

On Wednesday, Hosemann again fired back at Gunn and any threats to hold up other spending or legislation over the tax debate.

“None of us were elected to grind government to a halt,” Hosemann said. “We will not conduct ourselves this way in the Mississippi Senate. We will continue to work and call for public conference committees on the budget and other general bills.”

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Gunn and Hosemann remain at an impasse on tax cuts


Philip Gunn and Delbert Hosemann remain at an impasse on tax cuts

The Mississippi Senate passed a new tax cut bill Tuesday, the day after the House passed its newest version of a bill to eliminate the income tax.

Both Republican-led chambers billed their changes this week as compromise. But the two are not openly negotiating and appear to mainly be communicating through press conferences hyping their own plans and criticizing the other’s and sending dueling bills back and forth.

The two chambers remain far apart on tax cuts as the 2022 legislative session enters its final three weeks. The impasse threatens to hinder setting a budget, spending billions of federal pandemic stimulus and other work. It also raises the specter of an extended or special session into the summer.

Republican Speaker Philip Gunn and his House leadership are set on eliminating, not just cutting, personal income taxes. But Republican Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and his Senate leadership believe that’s too risky and propose smaller tax cuts, rebates and suspension instead. House leaders say the Senate plan is a half measure. Senate leaders say the House is being foolhardy trying to eliminate one-third of state revenue during uncertain economic times.

After a public speech at the Capitol on Tuesday, Gunn — flanked by dozens of House members — called for Hosemann and Senate leaders to “get into a room and talk with us about this” to come up with a deal. But Gunn also made clear he’s dug-in on “elimination of the income tax, without further legislative action required, and as quickly as possible.”

Gunn also called for Republican Gov. Tate Reeves, who is currently out of state, to throw his full support behind the House plan. “(Reeves) has said he supports eliminating the income tax, and this is the only measure to do that,” Gunn said.

“This is the opportunity of a lifetime, ladies and gentlemen,” Gunn said in his Capitol speech. “… This is the opportunity to do something right now that we will never have again in our lifetimes.”

READ MORE: 5 things to know about the Great Mississippi Tax Cut Battle of 2022

But Senate leaders have countered that there should be plenty of opportunities down the road to cut or eliminate taxes — depending on what the does.

“This is very fragile right now, and we are at risk — with Ukraine, inflation …” Hosemann said.

On Monday, Hosemann held a press conference where he announced a proposal to suspend the state’s 18.4-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax for six months and expansion of the Senate’s income tax cuts, but not elimination.

“We need both meaningful and sustainable tax reform,” Hosemann said.

While some Democrats in both chambers are for the tax cut bills, others question whether tax cuts are in order for a state with so many needs in roads, water and sewerage and education.

“It just seems like we’re stumbling backwards into the future, trying to impress somebody with tax cuts, when we need to be doing so many other things,” said Sen. David Jordan, D-Greenwood.

READ MORE: Tax cut battle continues: Hosemann wants to pause gas tax, House overhauls its plan

Here are highlights of the House and Senate’s latest proposals on taxes. To see earlier iterations of the plans, click here.

The House tax plan

  • Eliminate the state personal income tax, through exemptions, over years. It would start with exempting $25,000 in income for individuals, $50,000 for married couples — down from its previous proposal of first-year exemptions of $40,000 and $80,000 respectively. The first year the plan would cut about $700 million from the state budget, eventually increasing to about $1.5 billion.
  • Phasing out the rest of the income tax using a “growth trigger” of 1.6% a year. This means state revenue over 1.6% growth would be used to buy down the income tax. This buy-down would be capped at $150 million a year, meaning money collected over that amount would stay in the state budget. Previously, the House growth trigger was at 1.5% with no cap. The latest proposal would take about 15 years to eliminate the income tax, up from about 10 years in its previous proposal.
  • No sales tax increase. The House has since last year pushed for sales tax increases to go along with its income tax elimination. But this week it dropped that part of its proposal.
  • Reducing the grocery tax more slowly, from 7% to 4% at a quarter point a year.
  • No car tag reduction. The House had proposed cutting car tag fees in half, using state funds to subsidize local governments who levy most of the fees on car tags. House leaders said the Senate opposed this, so they dropped it, despite it being popular with constituents.
  • Setting aside $500 million in state funds to cover any budget shortfalls “out of an abundance of caution” and to allay Senate concerns that the House plan would sink the budget.

The Senate tax plan

  • Reduction of the state’s top, 5% tax bracket to 4.6% over four years, then elimination of the lower 4% tax bracket over the next four years after that. Originally, the Senate had proposed only the phase out of the 4% bracket. The new, eight-year Senate tax plan would cost about $439 million a year when totally implemented.
  • Suspending the state’s 18.4-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax for six months, using about $215 million in tax dollars on hand to reimburse the , which uses the gas tax for roads, bridges, and matching federal dollars. House leaders said would probably barely notice such a break with gas prices currently so high.
  • Reduction of the state grocery tax from 7% to 5%, starting in July.
  • Up to a 5%, one-time income tax rebate in 2022 for those who paid taxes. The rebates would range from $100 to $1,000, for a one-time coast of about $130 million.

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Tax cut battle continues: Hosemann wants to pause gas tax, House overhauls its plan


Tax cut battle continues: Hosemann wants to pause gas tax, House overhauls its plan

The tax cut battle between Mississippi Republican House and Senate leaders continued Monday with each chamber overhauling its proposal.

But the two sides still appear far apart as the legislative session enters its final weeks. The House wants to eliminate the personal income tax. The Senate just wants cuts and rebates. Senate leaders have said the House plan is foolhardy during uncertain economic times. House leaders say the Senate cuts are a half measure.

Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, who presides over the Senate, on Monday unveiled a proposal to suspend the state’s 18.4-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax for six months, to help facing skyrocketing fuel prices and other inflation. The Senate is also increasing its proposed income tax cuts, but spreading them out over eight years.

“I started questioning what inflation was doing back in November, and it was 2.5%,” Hosemann said at a press conference Monday. “On March 8, I was informed it was at 6.7% … It cost me $106 to fill up my truck … Because of huge increases in inflation hitting everyone so hard, today I am requesting we do an immediate suspension of the state gasoline tax for six months.”

Hosemann and Senate leaders are proposing the state, with coffers overflowing largely from an influx of federal stimulus spending, use $215 million in surplus to reimburse the for suspending the gas tax for six months. This would reduce prices at the pump by 18.4 cents a gallon.

The Senate also changed its income tax cut plan. It had proposed phasing out the state’s 4% income tax bracket over four years. Now, in a plan that passed in committee Monday, Senate leaders propose cutting the state’s top, 5% income tax bracket to 4.6% over four years, then phasing out the 4% bracket over the four years after that.

In the House, leaders overhauled their plan to eliminate the state’s personal income tax, phasing in elimination more slowly and removing an accompanying increase in sales taxes. House leaders said they’ve addressed every concern Hosemann and Senate leaders have raised.

The Senate plan would still include a one-time tax rebate of up to 5% for taxpayers — from $100 to $1,000 — and would cut taxes on groceries from 7% to 5% in year one.

The House on Monday stripped a sales tax increase from 7% to 8.5% from its proposal, and slowed its roll a bit on the phase out of the personal income tax. It also its proposal to cut car tag fees in half, with the state subsidizing local governments who levy most of the fees on tags. It would still lower grocery taxes, but more slowly, by .25% a year down to 4%.

“Every objection the Senate has made to our plan has now been addressed,” House Ways and Means Chairman Trey Lamar, R-Senatobia. “The only objection you could have now to the plan is that you just don’t want to the tax on work in Mississippi.”

The House had previously proposed exempting $40,000 in income for individuals and $80,000 for couples from income taxes in year one, then phasing the tax out from there. The new proposal is to exempt $25,000 and $50,000 in income, respectively, to start.

The House plan had included a “growth trigger” of 1.5%, meaning any revenue growth beyond that each year would further reduce the income tax until it was gone. It has increased that trigger to 1.6%, and put a cap of $150 million a year that would go toward eliminating the income tax, meaning anything over that would go back into state coffers.

House leaders had predicted the income tax could be phased out in about 10 years or so. Lamar said Monday that with the changes, that would now take about 15 years, depending on growth.

The House passed this latest version of Speaker Philip Gunn’s income tax elimination proposal Monday afternoon with a vote of 83-33. Many Democrats who supported the earlier version said they could not vote for the latest proposal because it did not cut the local tax on car tags.

“I supported it basically because of the car tag cut,” said Rep. John Hines, D-Greenville. “Now you have nothing I can support.”

Lamar said the Senate leadership had been adamant in opposing a reduction in the cost of car tags.

“My own father is mad at me about that,” Lamar said from the well of the House. “But the Senate refused to do it.”

Other Democrats expressed concerns about cutting revenue while the state still has many vital needs.

Rep. Omeria Scott, D-Laurel, pointed out needs that local governments have needs in the area of education, in and in other areas.

“Until Mississippi addresses all these serious needs it has, I think this bill is premature,” Scott said.

In Senate committee debate on its new proposal, Democratic Sen. Hob Bryan of Amory also made this argument, with an emotional plea to his colleagues.

“This will do untold harm to our state,” Bryan said of the Senate plan. “$439 million every year, in perpetuity, out of the general fund forever. Forever! Forever! We don’t have clean drinking water in Mississippi. We have sewer systems that are inoperable … If you think reducing the income tax will bring a single person to this state you are wrong. But not having functioning water and sewer systems will keep them out … What about our roads? Do you drive on them? Don’t you see all the cracks?”

Neither Hosemann nor Gunn had comments on the other’s latest proposals on Monday.

READ MORE: 5 things to know about the Great Mississippi Tax Cut Battle of 2022

This is the second major overhaul of Gunn’s income tax plan since he unveiled it last year and it died in the Senate. In the first version last year it would have increased the state sales tax on most retails items from 7% to 9.5%. It would have increased other sales taxes by 2.5 cents on the dollar. For instance, originally automobiles now subject to a 5% tax would have seen that increase to 7.5%.

But facing opposition from many business lobbies and Gov. Tate Reeves, Gunn reduced the general sales tax increase and did away with the increases in other sectors such as automobiles and farm equipment. He also added a measure to cut car tag fees in half, with the state subsidizing local governments who levy most of the fees on car tags. The income tax exemptions in the original plan were also lowered in this year’s first proposal.

READ MORE: Gov. Reeves pours cold water on income tax cut plan as it passes House

The latest changes to the tax proposals come after a recent article from the conservative Tax Foundation — whose policies Gunn has said were an impetus for his plan — was critical of both his and the Senate’s income tax proposals.

The Tax Foundation article questioned whether the original House plan, with its 1.5% “growth triggers” on income tax elimination, would allow the state budget to keep up with inflation.

“General fund growth limits are not fundamentally bad, but HB 531 includes a mechanism that would restrict growth to no more than 1.5 percent per year,” the Tax Foundation article said. “To put that rate in perspective, at the end of January the 12-month change in inflation was 7.5 percent, the highest rate since 1982. Considerable uncertainty exists over how long it will take for inflation to return to the Federal Reserve’s target rate of 2 percent, but it is not unreasonable to assume that rates could remain somewhere above the target rate for several years. If that occurs, a 1.5 percent cap on revenue growth will significantly diminish the purchasing power of Mississippi’s general fund.”

The Tax Foundation article said the Senate plan was simpler and less risky, but notes flaws in both and says, “Mississippi is close to making meaningful reforms, but there is still more work to be done if the Magnolia State is to sustain the intended transformation.”

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Contract awarded for Interstate 10 repairs in Hancock County


www.wxxv25.com – WXXV Staff – 2022-03-07 12:53:24

The awarded an $809,000 contract to Key Constructors, LLC, of Madison on Friday to make repairs to Interstate 10 in Hancock County after a fire caused by a crash damaged the interstate bridge over the Pearl River.

Crews have been given approval to work 24/7 to complete this emergency bridge repair. This project is expected to wrap up in early May. The contract includes an incentive for…

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Nissan will build electric vehicles where they’re the least popular to own


Nissan will build new electric vehicles in Mississippi, the state where they’re the least popular to own

The Japanese car manufacturer Nissan announced last month it will spend half a billion dollars to upgrade its facility and workforce at its Canton plant, with the goal of building two new all-electric models by 2025.

“For nearly two decades, have kept our at the forefront of the world’s automotive industry,” Gov. Tate Reeves said. “The announcement that Nissan Canton is shifting some production to EVs (electric vehicles) further positions Mississippi as a leader in this crucial economic sector.”

But it’s less likely Mississippians will be driving those cars to drivers in the rest of the country. Mississippi has, per capita, the lowest number of electric cars registered of any state, according to U.S. Census and Department of Energy data

Policymakers and businesses around the U.S. are trying to jolt the electric car industry, with the hopes of emitting less carbon into an already warming atmosphere. The transportation sector accounts for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the country — about 30%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. 

In Mississippi, one of a few states that doesn’t require emissions testing for vehicles, only about 3 out of every 10,000 people own an electric vehicle. For the country as a whole, there were about 1.8 million EVs registered in 2020, or about 55 per 10,000 people. 

The state’s charging supply is also low compared to the rest of the country, ranking second to last, ahead of only Louisiana, in electric charging ports per capita. 

New federal dollars coming to the state will soon change that. Mississippi is set to receive $50 million from the Infrastructure Bill that would pay for charging stations and establishing corridors across the state for electric car drivers to use. The state has until August to submit a spending plan, according to a spokesperson from the , after which it can receive the money. 

While electric cars are getting cheaper, they’re still about $10,000 more than the average car. The federal government offers a tax credit worth up to $7,500 for EV purchases. 

Thirty-one states offer incentives, such as a tax credit or rebate, for purchasing an EV. Mississippi doesn’t have such a program, although the state’s largest power company, Entergy MS, does offer a $250 rebate for customers who buy a charger, which costs about $2,000.     

Other than that rebate, the state hasn’t done much to encourage drivers to make the switch. In 2018, the passed a bill that charges electric car owners to pay an $150 annual fee, and $75 if they own a hybrid, although the fees have increased since with inflation. 

While some electric car owners and advocates in the state scoffed at the law when it went into effect, most of the country has a similar policy.

Rep. Charles Busby, R-, who wrote the bill, argued that the fees are fair because the state relies on gas taxes to pay for roads and bridges. 

“If they’re going to travel on those roads and bridges they need to make a contribution,” said Busby, who chairs the House Transportation Committee. 

Busby added that he didn’t see a need yet to give customers an incentive for buying EVs, and that the market should dictate what cars people buy.

“Obviously if we transition towards electric vehicles, I want that to be supported in the state of Mississippi,” Busby said. “So I am for that, but I don’t think that we ought to be in the business of promoting one over the other. It needs to compete on the free market by itself.”

Failed attempts to encourage EVs in the state include a bill last year that would have given up to $30 million in tax credits for businesses that build charging stations, as well as several attempts to repeal the 2018 annual fee. 

In addition to the $500 million Nissan is investing in the operation, the Mississippi Development Authority is also spending $50 million through grants on the project, an agency spokesperson told Mississippi Today. 

The money will go towards building improvements, installing new equipment, and upskilling 2,000 of the 5,000 workers at the plant. 

Mississippi Today reporter Sara DiNatale contributed to this story. 

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Senate wants to spend $300 million on emergency bridge, road repairs


Senate wants to spend $300 million on emergency bridge, road repairs

The Senate has unanimously voted to add $300 million to the ’s Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Program.

The proposal, which could speed repair of more than 200 bridges statewide that are closed and/or posted for structural problems, now heads to the House.

“Right now, we have millions of dollars in federal relief funds flowing through our ,” said Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann. “Our cities, counties and constituents have asked us to dedicate our resources to better maintaining our infrastructure. We are listening and hope to send this legislation to the governor posthaste.”

But the legislation is also likely to get hung up in House and Senate debate over major income tax cuts and other spending decisions.

Senate Bill 3167, authored by Senate Appropriations Chairman Briggs Hopson, would direct $300 million of $1.1 billion in surplus state revenue this year into the program. The passed the emergency repair program in 2018, with hundreds of state bridges in dangerous disrepair, and initially funded it with $250 million in borrowing. Lawmakers spent another $89 million on the program last year.

The ERBR Program is by the and an advisory board of industry and local government leaders.

READ MORE: Full coverage of the 2022 legislative session

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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