Lawmakers report back to their constituents
NOTE: Our state lawmakers are invited to submit articles for publication on DeSoto County News. Content will not be edited, although we reserve the right for minor adjustments to meet with AP Style, spelling and punctuation corrections. This submission is provided by District 24 State Rep. Jeff Hale and we thank him for this report back to his district.
By State Rep. Jeff Hale
This is the second week of the 2022 Legislative Session. Even though it is early in the session, two monumental pieces of legislation were passed out of committee and were debated on the House floor.
House Bill 530, or the Strategically Accelerating the Recruitment and Retention of Teachers (START) Act of 2022, was introduced to the House on Wednesday. The START Act would raise the average starting salary of a Mississippi teacher to $43,000 – a $6,000 increase. This would make the average starting salary of teachers higher than both the national and southeastern averages. It would also give every teacher a pay raise between $4,000 and $6,000, effective at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, and give teacher’s assistants a salary bump of $2,000. The bill passed with a bipartisan vote of 114-6, and it has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
The Mississippi Tax Freedom Act of 2022 (House Bill 531) was also introduced on Wednesday. It is similar to last year’s proposal but has some key differences. The bill would eliminate the state income tax, becoming the tenth state in the United States to do so. It would also raise sales tax from 7 percent to 8.5 percent, lower grocery tax from 7 percent to 4 percent, and cut car tag prices by 50 percent. HB 531 passed by a vote of 97-12.
The deadline for the introduction of general bills and constitutional amendments is Monday, Jan. 17, so many committees are waiting until all bills are filed to hold meetings. Floor action will pick up next week as bills are brought out of committee. Bills must be passed out of committee before they are considered by the House.
District – 24