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: 295675

Reported Deaths: 6743
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19690230
Hinds18812389
Harrison16722280
Rankin12725265
Jackson12603228
Lee9691160
Madison9466203
Jones7978147
Forrest7217138
Lauderdale6836226
Lowndes6031140
Lamar588480
Lafayette5736113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4612123
Oktibbeha441493
Panola430894
Pearl River4174130
Warren4130115
Pontotoc409771
Marshall403392
Monroe3990126
Union395674
Neshoba3817169
Lincoln3544103
Hancock347975
Leflore3376118
Sunflower318986
Tate302974
Pike300796
Scott293970
Alcorn291862
Itawamba290075
Yazoo289963
Tippah278965
Coahoma278668
Copiah278158
Simpson275879
Prentiss269858
Wayne254241
Marion252778
Leake252671
Covington248980
Grenada247578
Adams234678
George231845
Newton229952
Winston221777
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201152
Holmes182370
Clay179251
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170939
Clarke169371
Calhoun157928
Smith152832
Yalobusha144836
Greene127733
Walthall124240
Noxubee122831
Montgomery122639
Perry121734
Lawrence120421
Carroll118425
Amite111734
Webster110631
Jefferson Davis101931
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93524
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77214
Franklin76119
Choctaw69617
Jefferson62727
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48917
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 494421

Reported Deaths: 9991
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson711451374
Mobile36184735
Madison32457458
Tuscaloosa24213412
Montgomery22636517
Shelby22020214
Baldwin19790284
Lee14980154
Morgan13693251
Calhoun13307287
Etowah13192320
Marshall11269209
Houston10102261
Elmore9408185
Limestone9376134
Cullman8903181
St. Clair8839224
Lauderdale8601212
DeKalb8465175
Talladega7552164
Walker6538258
Jackson6503103
Autauga630391
Blount6106127
Colbert5993119
Coffee5254102
Dale4648107
Russell405233
Franklin399478
Covington3970106
Chilton3883100
Escambia378172
Tallapoosa3596143
Clarke343753
Chambers3421111
Dallas3412141
Pike293372
Lawrence283684
Marion283495
Winston247368
Bibb245460
Geneva240270
Marengo236557
Pickens224555
Barbour212451
Hale210668
Fayette200957
Butler197566
Henry182641
Cherokee177139
Monroe166339
Randolph163840
Washington156635
Crenshaw145254
Clay145054
Macon142343
Cleburne137841
Lamar133133
Lowndes131251
Wilcox122525
Bullock117136
Conecuh106724
Perry105827
Sumter98632
Coosa89224
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
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