Last year, Mississippi Republicans won an overwhelming majority. Could 2024 be the year when they use that majority to deliver the kind of big, strategic change our state desperately needs?
Here are a number of reforms that Mississippi conservatives have it in their gift to implement, which would transform the long term prospects of our state for the better.
- Education Freedom:
2024 could be the year that we give every family in the state control over their child’s share of education tax dollars, through an Education Freedom Account. Arkansas passed legislation to do precisely that last year. Tennessee and Louisiana are poised to do something similar. Rather than trailing behind, Mississippi lawmakers should take the lead, delivering big, strategic change to improve education in this state, too.
The Mississippi Center for Public Policy recently held a public rally for education freedom, with Corey DeAngelis and local educators, helping mainstream the idea. Recent polls now show overwhelming public support.
- Affordable healthcare:
Too many families in Mississippi cannot get health coverage. Rather than hosing federal dollars at the problem, we need to look at what states like Florida are doing to innovate, with alternatives to insurance-based healthcare. This means ending the restrictive Certificate of Need laws that prevent new low cost health care providers from operating. It also means allowing nurse practitioners more autonomy. The Mississippi Center for Public Policy will soon publish a roadmap on how to go about removing CON laws.
- Tax cuts:
In 2023 Mississippi had a large state budget surplus. Rather than wait for politicians to think up new ways to spend that surplus, we need to see tax cuts in 2024. One option would be a further reduction in the state income tax.
Our neighboring states are reducing the tax burden on families and businesses. If we want to reverse the population decline in our state, we need to do so too.
- Abolish DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion):
In recent months we have seem appalling behaviour by ‘woke’ academics at several leading universities. It is now clear that DEI is destroying American academia. So why are public universities in Mississippi still running DEI programs? The Governor of Oklahoma recently issued an order terminating funding for DEI programs in public universities in that state. Mississippi needs to stop the rot in public universities and end DEI programs in 2024.
While those are our top four priorities for 2024, here are some other things we would like to see our law makers deliver:
- Women’s Bill of Rights / Parents Bill of Rights: Early last year, we invited Riley Gaines to speak in Jackson as part of our campaign to mainstream the idea of protecting women’s rights. We are thrilled to see so many people come out in support of the idea of building on the safeguards already contained within the Mississippi Fairness Act.
- PERS reform: The laws of math make the current public employee retirement scheme (PERS) unsustainable. Mississippi needs reforms so that young people starting work in the public sector have defined contribution, rather than defined benefit, pensions. Unless we make this change now, our grandchildren will end up with a massive tax bill. 2024 is the year when we need to see sensible changes made to PERS.
- Ballot initiative: Citizens in our state used to have a right of ballot initiative. Over a thirty year period, almost 70 initiative attempts to change the state constitution were made, with only three being successful. A failure to update the rules for triggering such initiatives means that we no longer have this right in practice. MCPP would like to see the right of ballot initiative restored, allowing citizens to change state law.
- Young Enterprise Act: Mississippi ought to do more to encourage young people to become entrepreneurs. One way to do this could be to exempt minors from having to obtain costly permits and licenses, or collect and remit sales taxes, when they want to run a small business. A few years ago, such a proposal was considered in the state legislature. We would love to see it revived.
If Mississippi conservatives passed these eight or so laws, they would transform our state for the better. No longer would we be considered a laggard by some, but as a leader.
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