With 2015 a state-wide election year, the upcoming session of the Mississippi Legislature is sure to be interesting. First, every member of the legislature and all state-wide office holders are up for re-election. Additionally, Initiative 42, the proposal to amend the state constitution to require fully funding MAEP, will be on the ballot and a possible alternative if passed by the Legislature.
With MAEP on the ballot, public education funding is certain to be a top issue for the legislature. The full MAEP formula has only been funded twice since adopted in 1997 (both times during election years) and, with Medicaid costs increasing, funding the full amount will require some combination of decreasing amounts for other services and higher education or raising taxes.
Tax relief is another political football and only the governor has proposed to give a tax credit to low to moderate income working families. The $5 state inspection sticker may also come up for consideration since it does not generate much revenue. Corporate taxes are also on the table; Mississippi is one of 13 states with a franchise tax that puts the state at a competitive disadvantage with other states in attracting new businesses.
With the scandals that have hit the Department of Corrections, Contract Reform will likely be another big topic this year. Tighter restrictions on no-bid contracts is likely to be politically popular this year.
Mark the calendar with these notable days in 2015:
- State Legislature Convenes: January 6th
- State Legislature Adjourns: April 6th
- Party Primary Election: August 4th
- Party Primary Runoff Election: August 25th
- General/Special Election: November 3rd
- Special Runoff Election: November 24th
For more information:
- AP analysis: 5 things to watch in the 2015 Mississippi Legislature, which convenes Tuesday
- Mississippi Watchdog: Plenty of issues for Mississippi Legislature to tackle in 2015
- Empower Mississippi: 2015 Legislative Preview
- 2015 Elections Calendar
- Secretary of State Elections & Voting Information
- 2015 Candidate Qualifying Guide