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Bryant eyes lottery, taxes on internet sales for road money

Gov. Phil Bryant told reporters Thursday that he's still exploring a special legislative session to provide more state money for Mississippi's roads and bridges.

Posted: May 31, 2018 8:20 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Gov. Phil Bryant told reporters Thursday that he's still exploring a special legislative session to provide more state money for Mississippi's roads and bridges.

Bryant said that a potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing states to collect taxes on internet sales could provide a boost to Mississippi revenues.

The Republican governor said he could ask lawmakers to dedicate that money to transportation, along with proceeds from a state lottery and newly legalized sports betting.

"If you start putting the revenue numbers together they're very close to the numbers we need to support our infrastructure," Bryant said.

But while the three revenue sources together would likely provide the state with more than $100 million a year, that's well short of the $400 million that transportation commissioners say is needed to prevent deterioration of the state highway network alone. Some cities and counties also have expensive needs, as illustrated by Bryant's decision to force the closure of more than 100 local bridges after federal authorities threatened to cut off state highway aid, arguing the structures were unsafe.

Bryant on Thursday again voiced strong support for lawmakers enacting a lottery, but House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, also Republicans, have long been cool to the idea. The governor is unlikely to call a special session unless Gunn and Reeves can agree on a plan, and they've been at odds in recent months. Both are in Texas visiting Mississippi National Guard troops in training to deploy overseas and couldn't immediately be reached for comment late Thursday.

Gunn wants to divert $110 million a year in taxes collected on internet sales to cities and counties, and proposes reducing $160 million a year in income taxes and replacing them with fuel taxes. The plan would end the state's 4 percent tax bracket on income between $5,000 and $10,000, leaving Mississippi with a flat 5 percent tax on income above $10,000.

The combined changes would shift more than 4 percent of the money the state spends on other functions to roads and bridges.

Reeves has flatly ruled out any increase in the fuel tax. He wants to divert year-end cash into transportation rather than the rainy day fund. Reeves' plan would put little or no new money under control of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, giving the governor control over more than $800 million. The plan would divert $25 million a year from current state highway funding to a new emergency bridge fund.

Democrats have said they want to block planned corporate tax cuts and devote that revenue to transportation.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 148387

Reported Deaths: 3769
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto9874101
Hinds9821198
Harrison6982110
Jackson6218119
Rankin5417102
Lee498495
Madison4711106
Forrest375086
Jones352488
Lauderdale3412145
Lafayette319749
Washington3153107
Lamar286349
Oktibbeha243562
Bolivar240884
Lowndes232864
Neshoba2189118
Panola218849
Marshall211950
Leflore203490
Pontotoc199128
Monroe196077
Sunflower191055
Lincoln187865
Warren174157
Tate166951
Union165325
Pike160958
Copiah160440
Yazoo152939
Scott151829
Itawamba151134
Coahoma149543
Pearl River149467
Alcorn148228
Simpson146353
Prentiss143730
Adams139250
Grenada138845
Leake133243
Holmes127861
Tippah123730
George123524
Covington120938
Winston120024
Hancock117639
Wayne116923
Marion114846
Attala111234
Tishomingo108742
Chickasaw106932
Newton104229
Tallahatchie96727
Clay89927
Clarke89153
Jasper81722
Walthall76028
Stone75214
Calhoun73713
Montgomery72825
Carroll71415
Lawrence70714
Yalobusha70527
Smith70316
Noxubee70017
Perry65826
Tunica60219
Greene59722
Claiborne57916
Jefferson Davis56017
Humphreys53119
Amite52714
Benton49017
Quitman4846
Webster42314
Kemper42118
Wilkinson38722
Jefferson34711
Franklin3345
Choctaw3157
Sharkey30817
Issaquena1144
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 241957

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31809500
Mobile19651361
Madison12964148
Tuscaloosa12946154
Montgomery12263236
Shelby1016177
Baldwin857698
Lee771866
Morgan648050
Calhoun6215119
Etowah618266
Marshall618255
Houston522438
DeKalb480436
Cullman433442
Limestone418645
St. Clair413655
Elmore403764
Lauderdale396754
Walker3620111
Talladega347954
Jackson311723
Colbert306042
Blount287940
Autauga270442
Franklin250233
Coffee242015
Dale231754
Dallas225232
Russell22123
Chilton220638
Covington218034
Escambia197931
Chambers176450
Tallapoosa175491
Pike158114
Clarke157619
Marion137136
Winston131123
Lawrence126336
Pickens121618
Geneva12108
Marengo120224
Barbour117010
Bibb117017
Butler115341
Randolph101921
Cherokee101024
Hale96031
Clay91024
Washington90719
Fayette89316
Henry8526
Lowndes79429
Monroe78311
Cleburne76914
Macon73022
Crenshaw70930
Bullock69419
Conecuh68314
Perry6836
Lamar6678
Wilcox63118
Sumter57522
Greene42318
Choctaw42113
Coosa3414
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