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: 312926

Reported Deaths: 7226
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21474257
Hinds20271414
Harrison17796309
Rankin13561278
Jackson13404246
Madison10062217
Lee9961173
Jones8364163
Forrest7644152
Lauderdale7178240
Lowndes6366144
Lamar621286
Lafayette6168118
Washington5322133
Bolivar4796132
Oktibbeha461198
Panola4556105
Pearl River4494145
Marshall4396103
Warren4376121
Pontotoc419372
Monroe4094133
Union408876
Neshoba4024176
Lincoln3947110
Hancock377086
Leflore3487125
Sunflower335790
Tate332384
Pike3294105
Scott315273
Alcorn311568
Yazoo310669
Itawamba299377
Copiah296065
Simpson294488
Coahoma294279
Tippah287668
Prentiss279360
Marion268780
Adams266082
Leake265573
Wayne262341
Grenada260186
Covington256381
George246748
Newton245961
Winston226881
Tishomingo225567
Jasper220848
Attala214173
Chickasaw207157
Holmes188673
Clay184754
Stone181833
Tallahatchie178140
Clarke177879
Calhoun169832
Yalobusha163336
Smith162234
Walthall133845
Greene130333
Lawrence128323
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry125838
Amite122842
Carroll121728
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104726
Claiborne102230
Benton99025
Humphreys96133
Kemper95328
Franklin83423
Quitman80016
Choctaw76018
Wilkinson66930
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 530011

Reported Deaths: 10946
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson763591519
Mobile40875804
Madison34676503
Tuscaloosa25717451
Montgomery24308585
Shelby23389248
Baldwin21093307
Lee15844169
Calhoun14481313
Morgan14281279
Etowah13813353
Marshall12203222
Houston10553280
Elmore10036205
Limestone9952150
Cullman9647193
St. Clair9634239
Lauderdale9413241
DeKalb8821185
Talladega8210175
Walker7222277
Autauga6914108
Jackson6803111
Blount6645136
Colbert6291134
Coffee5503118
Dale4826111
Russell440038
Chilton4263111
Franklin425482
Covington4120117
Tallapoosa4006152
Escambia393276
Chambers3559123
Dallas3544151
Clarke350861
Marion3111100
Pike310177
Lawrence299898
Winston273772
Bibb260463
Marengo249164
Geneva248777
Pickens233760
Barbour230757
Hale222577
Butler215869
Fayette212062
Henry188744
Cherokee184345
Randolph179941
Monroe177040
Washington167039
Macon158650
Clay155956
Crenshaw151957
Cleburne148741
Lamar141834
Lowndes138553
Wilcox127029
Bullock123041
Conecuh110129
Perry107526
Coosa107128
Sumter104332
Greene92334
Choctaw60424
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