Mississippi State Government & Agencies
BPF strives to inform citizens and elected officials on its views regarding public policies that benefit or cause hard to Mississippi's economic condition. Bigger Pie believes sound public policy grounded in fiscal responsibility is a cornerstone to successful communities.
As lawmakers evaluate the state retirement plan, it is important to understand historical context, the origins of PERS, and its current benefit structure. The lawmakers who developed the system anticipated that members – those who benefit from the plan – would cover most plan liabilities, not taxpayers.
The Mississippi Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) faces significant financial and structural challenges – and Mississippians deserve to know more about this complex issue. After all, changes to the system directly affect our citizens’ pocketbooks.
Our state leaders claim to be champions of free market principles but often act as enemies. Our current laws are full of protectionism. So many of our policies scream, “We don’t want your business here.” Mississippi can’t be “open for business” when it shuts the door on competition.
This year, the General Fund has a rare, large surplus that presents an opportunity for tax cuts (such as a possible elimination of the state’s income tax, [personal but not corporate]) or spending in sectors such as education or infrastructure.
There were two bills last year that could’ve helped clarify and streamline the incentives and the process to obtain them. Although they were almost identical and passed both houses, a final version was never agreed to. Those same bills have been introduced this year. The Mississippi Flexible Tax Incentive, known as MFLEX, would require companies to meet investment and job creation requirements before they receive any taxpayer funds. Doing so would protect taxpayer funds from fraud and waste and ensure that incentives only go to companies that fulfill their promises.
In this year’s Legislative Session, eight proposals were introduced to reinstate the initiative process in some form. Only one survived the Feb. 1 deadline for committees to act on them. House Concurrent Resolution 39, introduced by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, proposes to allow the initiative process to be used only to create, amend, or repeal statutes, but it would not allow doing so to the Constitution.