First week of 2018 Legislative Session kicks off at a fast paceBy TOM MILES,
The first week of the Legislative session is usually a time for renewing friendships, meeting new members, and occasionally having the opportunity to take a few votes on the floor of the House. Last week was true to form.
We had an opportunity to vote on some measures that should help address the glaring issue of our state road and bridge infrastructure decline. As you likely know, our local communities are being faced with closed bridges and crumbling roads because funding has not been provided for consistent maintenance and repair of our aging system. A closed bridge creates real problems for working people — adding to commute times and school bus riding time for students and sometimes even preventing first responders from helping timely.
House Bill 354 provides that a percentage of overall state revenue growth will be designated to go toward state and local roads. Specifically, it states that 50 percent over a two percent revenue growth will be deposited into a special account for this purpose. This measure was overwhelmingly approved by the House, and I voted in favor of it. Let’s hope that the state’s revenue will grow enough in the near future to trigger this action.
House Bill 357 provides authorization for bonds to help municipalities and counties with bridge improvements. This was another measure heavily supported by House members, and which I voted in favor of it.
The bills now go to the Senate for action. While they will not provide everything we need to correct our infrastructure issues, they are a start. I’m hoping that we will have more bills to come before us on this subject.
One measure that bears watching is House Bill 4, which I filed to allow counties to keep the sales tax collected in areas outside of city limits. Municipalities already have this opportunity. If this measure passes, the money collected by the counties can be used to help repair and maintain county roads and bridges, rather than being dumped into the state’s general fund. I believe local sales taxes should stay local. The bill has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee.
It was great to visit with our local county officials on Wednesday evening during the annual reception. On Thursday, the Mississippi Economic Council hosted its annual event which is always informative and friendly.
If you’re planning a trip to your State Capitol, please let me know so that I can introduce you to my colleagues. Any concerns or suggestions can be sent to my email address at email@example.com, or you can call 601-469-7886. I always look forward to hearing from you.
Housekeeping is a Weekly update from The Mississippi House of Representatives by Representative Tom Miles who serves as State Representative for House District #75 in Scott & Eastern Rankin Counties