The Mississippi House is considering a bill (HB 1364) that would increase gas taxes and increase debt for the people of Mississippi. The bill caps new bond debt at a whopping $2.5 billion. The bill also indexes the state gas tax according to the U.S. inflation rate. This means that the state gas tax would go up whenever the U.S. inflation rate goes up. Many economists are expecting the U.S. inflation rate to go up in 2021.
HB 1364 has passed out of committee and is already on the House calendar. A vote by the full House is expected early this week.
Responding to the proposed gas tax increase, President & CEO of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy Douglas Carswell said, “It is wrong for politicians to be raising taxes on gas. History shows that these kinds of tax hikes are never temporary.”
“Making Mississippians pay more every time they fill up with gas means less money for them to spend on their own families. It will hit small businesses and folks who live in more rural areas especially hard.”
The gas tax bill also fails to fix a longstanding problem with how Mississippi funds transportation projects. A recent performance audit found that “a lack of competition in the bidding process has been proven to increase MDOT project costs.” More transparency is also needed so that the state prioritizes high-need projects that serve the most people and maximizes economic development opportunities.
“The idea behind this tax hike seems to be to create a pot of money to spend on infrastructure. Why not work out specifically what infrastructure we need, and set a budget for it, before taking more money from taxpayers? That way we might at least ensure we get value for money from any infrastructure projects.”
“Instead of figuring out ways to fleece taxpayers, we need politicians to focus on spending less, and spending it wisely.”
Mississippi lawmakers need to be able to control our own gas tax rate. This bill will tie our gas tax to the federal inflation rate, which is expected to go up. That means the gas tax will automatically go up, and Mississippi will not be able to do a thing about it. Why are we giving over control of our gas tax to Washington, D.C.?