Senate discusses bill that would affect car tags

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 24, 2009

This week we passed Senate Bill 3233 that increased funding to the state tax commission in several categories, with the highest amount being $25 million that goes to the Ad Valorem Tag Reduction Fund that will help us to hold down the cost of car tags. We expect to earn this money in fiscal year 2010 through increasing the tax on cigarettes.

We also appropriated money to help with upgrades to the tax commission’s computer system, which we have been told will pay for itself once completed, through more efficient data gathering that will generate increased tax revenues.

By amending House Bill 865, our appropriations committee restored $409,000 in funding to district attorneys across the state as a way to prevent layoffs of key court personnel.

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We also provided $1.1 million from the state treasury to allow the Division of Medicaid to continue providing transportation for end-stage kidney disease patients so they can receive needed dialysis treatments.

Some preliminary budgets for agencies were approved, but because we do not yet know all details on what Mississippi will receive in federal economic stimulus incentives, those numbers could change drastically. Therefore, those amounts remain sketchy until we learn next week how much money we will get.

Our passage of Senate Bill 3197 will offer a job tax credit for employers who manufacture upholstered household furniture.

This could be a very good incentive for luring businesses since it gives employers a $2,000 per employee job tax credit for a 10-year period.

Over the past decade, our smaller communities have seen their textile industry and its spinoff trades disappear to areas where cheap labor existed. Hopefully this will help us.

We also passed Senate Bill 3188, which will empower county boards of supervisors, mayors and city councils or boards of aldermen to give certain ad valorem tax exemptions to military service members who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The amounts of the exemptions vary. As typical with tax breaks, local school district taxes would still have to be paid. But we see this as a way of helping those who have given service to our country.

Next week we will begin to debate bills sent over from the House of Representatives and possibly begin compromises to get our own bills passed by them.

Sen. Kelvin BUTLER represents a portion of Adams County.