Monday, March 21, 2016

Sen Michael Watson: Heads Up: The "dummy gas tax bill" circumvents the normal legislative process.

From FaceBook:

Many of you have asked me what a “placeholder bill” is in the legislative process. A placeholder is what we call a "dummy bill" that has all of the necessary code sections to accomplish whatever needed. It is supposed to be used in the rarest of cases when you are up against a legislative deadline before having all of the details worked out in a bill.

In the case of the “gas tax” bill that passed the senate last week, it has a large number of the tax code sections in it, including the gas tax, income tax, franchise tax, sales tax diversion for cities, tobacco tax, rental car tax, car tags, vehicle registration fees, farm equipment and various other tax code sections. While there is no increase in the current "dummy bill", it will most likely have a gas tax increase if it makes it out of the House and is then sent to a conference committee.
What I think they are planning is to increase the gas tax and eliminate the franchise tax, lower the income tax and give the self-employment tax credit in the same bill. That's the only reason to pile all of those code sections together. Additionally, it includes BP economic damages settlement money language, bonding for the universities and community colleges and many other projects. The bill will be slammed full of good things to get folks to vote for it, and the gas tax increase will be slid into the bottom of the pile. Unfortunately, eliminating the franchise tax and increasing the gas tax will shift the tax burden to working class Mississippians. I fully support eliminating the franchise tax, but not at the expense of those who can least afford a tax increase.

The "dummy bill" approach also circumvents the normal legislative process. A gas tax increase would not have made it through the committee process, so they chose to usher the "dummy bill" through into the conference committee process and pile it up with good stuff to get votes. It's the same thing we get mad about at the lawmakers in DC.
Please let me know if you have any questions, and feel free to share this with as many of your friends as possible so they will be aware of what’s happening with the “gas tax” bill.