/Capitol standoff, brinksmanship concentrate power to handful of leaders

Capitol standoff, brinksmanship concentrate power to handful of leaders

They do. Especially as they get seniority and committee assignments, chairships, and learn the ropes in legislating. There are occasions when rank-and-file legislators don’t even need to be there. They have as much input as the Capitol furniture. Negotiations are often pushed back to the end of the deadlines due to standoffs between Senate and House leadership on major spending or issues. The Capitol’s brinksmanship in the last weeks of a legislative session is often called a “game of chicken”, a game where one of the two sides blinks first, or “let go of you or I’ll leap off this cliff”. It also means that many of the 174 legislators get the mushroom treatment during back-room negotiations. The leadership then forces the rank-and-file to read the final agreements at the deadline for voting. The committee system is thrown out of the window. The bill is not vetted. Mistakes get made. Deadline deals in Mississippi’s statehouse are a death sentence for democracy. Over the past five years, many lawmakers have complained that they are being given the bum rush. A few times, lawmakers have been asked to vote in committee bills that aren’t yet written. In the last weeks of the 2022 legislative session, a standoff of epic proportions has erupted at the Capitol over Senate and House dueling income tax cuts proposals. It could delay and even derail one of the most critical issues that lawmakers have ever faced. That is, how to spend $1.8 million in federal ARPA Pandemic Stimulus money. READ MORE: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Great Mississippi Tax Cut Battle of 20202. This means that any income tax or elimination agreement that is reached would be made by detente and not analysis. This is not the best way for the state to make a major change in its tax structure. This could cause many other measures to be stalled, including setting the state’s budget of $7 billion for next year. Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn made it clear that he views his proposal to abolish the state personal income tax and raise sales taxes as the most important measure in his political career. He’s made it clear that he is willing to allow other spending and measures to die if the Senate does not agree. Republican Lt. Governor. Delbert Hosemann is the Senate’s President. He has advocated a modestly reduced income tax and rebates for taxpayers. Senate leaders argue that a drastic reduction of one-third state revenue in uncertain economic times is not prudent and could lead to a crash of the state budget. Hosemann, who testified before the Senate about ARPA spending in the fall and summer, made it clear that he considers spending stimulus funds in a “transformational” manner on state-wide infrastructure improvements. Hosemann’s main idea is to provide state matching funds for federal stimulus funds local governments received in order to construct larger, more transformative water, sewerage, and other infrastructure projects. This proposal is based on the belief that Mississippi, which is already far behind other states in spending or planning for ARPA funds, is burning daylight and leaving local governments unable to plan for large-scale projects. While Tate Reeves has previously criticized Gunn’s tax plan for being a “tax switch” due to its increased sales taxes, Governor. Tate Reeves praised Gunn’s threat to an ARPA standoff this week, saying that “the taxpayers should be first to benefit when this much money is available.” If lawmakers miss end-of-session deadlines for tax cuts, ARPA spending, or setting a budget then Reeves could force them into special session this summer. This would also result in important decisions being made only by a few leaders, with limited debate and vetting. With the 2022 session ending in three weeks and so much still unfinished, legislative leaders will need to rush to make deals. The rank-and-file elected legislators will not likely have much input into the details of those deals. READ MORE: Mississippi Republican Income Tax Bet