Jackson, Miss.– In the coming months, lawmakers have stated that they want to address jobs and economic development as a way of moving the state forward and helping working families become more prosperous.
“A focus on addressing jobs and economic development is a great opportunity to positively affect the lives of working Mississippians”, said Dr. Corey Wiggins, Director of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center. Despite the end of the recession, the latest unemployment data from U.S. Department of Labor shows that Mississippi has the highest unemployment nationally at 7.9%.
“While we must explore options to help the bottom line of Mississippi families , we must ensure that those Mississippians most in need directly benefit from the efforts to improve our economy. Tax cuts might sound good at first, but they won’t work” said Dr. Wiggins. “To be competitive Mississippi needs better schools, a college-educated workforce, and healthier communities. Tax cuts would undermine our ability to invest in those necessities.”
Despite modest increases in K-12 education funding, largely earmarked for teacher pay raises, the state is still underfunding schools this year by over $200 million schools—topping off a cumulative shortfall of $1.5 billion since 2008.
“While revenues are finally rebounding from the recession, they are coming up from a deep trough that caused, among other things, teacher layoffs, higher college tuition and a dramatic trooper shortage. Things are getting better, but we don’t want to go back there. If we give away the revenueThe state’s income from any source. Mississippi revenue includes: tax collections, fees, and intergovernmental grants. gains we’ve made over the last couple of years, we’ll continue to hurt the very things that will build our economy.”
The Mississippi Economic Policy Center (MEPC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts independent research on public policy issues affecting working Mississippians. MEPC is an initiative of the Hope Enterprise Corporation (HOPE), a regional financial institution and community development intermediary dedicated to strengthening communities, building assets and improving lives in economically distressed areas throughout the Mid South.