Democratic lawmakers weigh in on transportation funding issues - - Jackson, MS

Democratic lawmakers weigh in on transportation funding issues

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

We're still following new developments as state leaders discuss what to do about the failing bridges. Several different officials have weighed in and now other lawmakers are putting in their two cents.

The House and Senate Democrats say they're learning about funding "proposals" from the news. They're not part of any of those negotiations and want to see that change.

Democrats are taking a different approach to finding solutions for the infrastructure funding problems. They're planning a public hearing and say that will help them get a better focus on realistic solutions.

"You can count on us to be ready to work with leadership whenever they reach out and ask us for input," explained House minority leader David Baria. "If they don't, then you can count on us to come forward with our own proposal after input from the public and from stakeholders.

Senator Derrick Simmons says it's too big of an issue to not bring everyone to the negotiation table.

"You may have two or three people or handfuls of people that are meeting behind closed doors at the Capitol that's trying to decide the space of government function. Certainly what we will do as Democrats is we will open it up to all the stakeholders in the state of Mississippi," added Senator Simmons.

But before they ever get to funding options, Democrats want to address the existing corporate tax cut that was approved in recent years.

"We either need to repeal the tax cuts or we need to stop the full implementation of the tax cuts that we passed under the Republican leadership and with the Republican majority," said Simmons.

Speaking of tax breaks, some caucus members commented on what they thought of Speaker Gunn's plan to have a tax swap which would be a phase out the 4% income tax bracket and an increase in gas taxes.

"To give an even larger tax cut," said Rep. Jarvis Dortch. "That's just obscene and immoral. I think it's crazy that the approach to our infrastructure needs is another tax cut. We need to talk about responsible governing in this state and that includes looking at new revenue options that don't all fall on the back of poor folks."

As for the stakeholders they're wanting to invite to that public hearing, they're expecting that will include people like city and county leaders, school bus drivers, and citizens who are being rerouted by the bridge closings. They haven't set a time for that yet but would like to have it before a special session is called.

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