House members pass a variety of bills

Submitted by District 35 Rep. Joey Hood

House members passed a variety of bills this week in advance of the approaching final deadlines of the 2015 Legislative Session. Most of the bills were before the House for concurrence or non-concurrence. If the House voted to concur or agree with Senate amendments, the bill is sent directly to Governor Bryant to sign into law. However, if the decision was not to concur but to invite conference, the bill is sent to a conference committee of three members each from the House and Senate.

Monday and Tuesday, House members addressed and passed 53 Appropriation bills from the Senate to meet the 8 p.m. deadline Tuesday. At the beginning of the Session, the chairmen from both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees meet to divide the 106 Appropriation and Revenue bills. The House takes 53, and the Senate takes 53. Once each chamber votes on the measures, they go to the other chamber for approval. All bills must pass both chambers in identical form before they can be signed into law by the Governor.

Inspection Sticker Eliminated
House Bill 982 eliminates the vehicle inspection sticker. The House has passed this bill for the past three years only for it to die in the Senate each year. I have authored this bill several times and I am glad to see that it has finally passed. The bill has been sent to Governor Bryant for his signature.

Income Tax Cut
The House attempted to concur with Senate changes to House Bill 1629, the phase-out of the income tax for individuals, but needed a 3/5 vote to pass, or 72 votes. The Senate amended the House Bill to include a tax cut for individuals and businesses. The amended House Bill would eliminate only the three and four percent income tax brackets, resulting in a flat five percent income tax bracket for all Mississippians through a phase-out. Further, the amended House Bill would eliminate the investment penalty on businesses through a 10-year phase-out of the corporate franchise tax. It would also permit a 50 percent deduction of self-employment taxes for small business owners. In a study conducted by Mississippi State University, researchers found that over a 10-year period of the elimination of the franchise tax, the state could have experienced an increase in GDP by $282 million and an increase in job creation by 3,514 jobs.

Efforts to concur with the Senate changes to House Bill 1629 failed by a vote of 67-52 because it needed a 3/5 vote to pass, or 72 votes. I voted for a pay raise for taxpayers and a tax cut for small business owners in District 35. The vote was primarily along party lines with Republicans voting for the tax cut and Democrats against it. The bill was held on a motion to reconsider. I will keep everybody posted.

I would like to thank the people of District 35 for allowing me the opportunity to serve. If you have any questions or need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. You can contact me at the Capitol at P. O. Box 1018, Jackson, Mississippi 39215 or call (601) 359-3339. You may also email me at jhood@house.ms.gov or visit my website at www.joeyhoodmississippi.com