Mississippi Center for Public Policy
2012 Legislative Agenda
Freedom for Parents to Choose the Best Education for Their Children
- Allow the creation of charter schools, which are public schools parents can choose (or help create) to meet students' educational needs in unique ways. Charter public schools are given freedom from some rules and regulations that traditional public schools have to follow. In return for that freedom, they are held to a higher level of accountability.
- Allow an income tax credit for contributions to organizations that provide scholarships to low-income children to attend a school other than the one to which the government has assigned them.
- Allow parents and schools to utilize digital (also known as "online") educational options for all subjects. School contracts with providers of these services should be structured so that a provider is paid only after a student masters a particular subject or section of the course.
- Allow an income tax credit for educational expenses incurred for grades K-12.
- Expand current public school choice by allowing students to attend a public school outside their district if the receiving district approves. (Current policy only allows this if approved by the receiving and sending district.)
- Provide scholarships to children with special needs, permitting them to attend a school of their parents' choice.
- Provide scholarships to children in foster care, providing the stability of attending one school even if moved to different homes.
Freedom for Entrepreneurs to Pursue Their Dreams
- Require all rules and regulations issued by state agencies to sunset five years after they are issued, to be extended/renewed only through the procedure required of new rules and regulations.
- Apply the "yellow pages test" to eliminate government-provided products or services which compete with private sector businesses which provide the same items or services.
- Establish a Small Business Regulatory Review Committee to review and make recommendations to the Legislature and state agencies regarding proposed legislation or rules which may have an adverse economic impact upon small businesses.
- Phase out the property tax on inventory, or mitigate the cost of such taxes to businesses.
Freedom for the Public to See and Understand the Actions of Government
- Mississippi Truth in Government Borrowing Act - Require the state legislature and local governments, before approving a bond issue, to publish a fiscal impact statement (or "fiscal note") that includes the following for each project: (1) total cost of bonds, including principal and interest for the 30-year expected life of the bonds (similar to Truth in Lending statements); (2) estimated legal and other issuance fees, and the net amount that is expected to be available for the purpose of the bonds; and (3) if designated for a new building or program, include the estimated operating expenses (cost to furnish it, staff it, pay utilities, etc.) for first 10 years.
- Require all taxing districts to report annually to the State Auditor their tax rates, the items to which those rates are applied, and the amounts and types of debt owed by those entities. Require the State Auditor to post those reports online.
- Require competitive bidding, oversight, and transparency in the process of hiring outside private attorneys to conduct litigation on behalf of the state.
- Amend lobbying disclosure laws to require all expenses related to lobbying by government agencies be fully disclosed.
- Require legislative bills to show, in a strike-through font, words which are proposed to be deleted from current law.