Mississippi tax collections for November outpace estimates but fall short of prior year

The state collected $13 million less than the same month last year, yet still remains $347.4 million above fiscal year-to-date estimates.
While Mississippi state revenue collections outpaced legislative estimates for the month of November in the current Fiscal Year 2023, there are signs that the economy is cooling.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee reported on Wednesday that the total revenue collections for the month of November FY 2023 are $23,580,341 or 4.76% above the sine die revenue estimate.
Fiscal year-to-date revenue collections through November 2022 are $347,353,944 or 12.91% above the sine die revenue estimate.

Fiscal year-to-date total revenue collection through November 2022 is $277,948,770 or 10.07% above the prior year’s collections.
The FY 2023 Sine Die Revenue Estimate is $6,987,400,000.

However, the November FY 2023 General Fund collections were $13,081,704 or 2.46% below November FY 2022 actual collections.

In addition, individual income tax collections for the month of November were below the prior year by $14.9 million, and corporate income tax collections for the month of November were below the prior year by $9.7 million.
Even still, sales tax collections for the month of November outpaced the prior year by $7.3 million.
The U.S. economy continues to be plagued by a nearly 40-year high inflationary period driving up the cost of goods and services and making personal incomes not stretch as far as purchasing power is restricted and rates are increased by the Federal Reserve in an attempt to stave off a deepening recession.
Over the past 10 years, Mississippi has seen an unprecedented increase in its state revenues, largely fueled by sales and individual income tax collections.

Lawmakers met earlier this week to adopt the FY 2024 state revenue estimate of $7.5 billion, outlining plans for state support funding that included maintaining the 2% set-aside in the General Fund, strengthening the state’s financial reserves, and building a budget using only recurring funds while increasing state support for many budget lines.
READ MORE: Joint Legislative Budget Committee sets FY 2024 revenue estimate at $7.5 billion, outlines state funding
Governor Tate Reeves and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn hope to find support in the 2023 legislative session to fully eliminate the personal income tax in Mississippi after having to compromise on a reduction in the income tax last session as opposition in the State Senate advised caution. […]


Hyde-Smith sets sights on addressing veterinary shortages with new Farm Bill

Senator Hyde-Smith says the nation’s food security and economic security are put at risk without sufficient veterinary oversight. 
Mississippi U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith used the Senate Agriculture Committee meeting this week as an opportunity to start the conversation around the growing shortage of large animal veterinarians in rural areas. Her push was to find solutions to end the issue and comes in preparation of the 2023 Farm Bill.
[embedded content]
The hearing, “Farm Bill 2023:  Research Programs,” highlighted the need for a new Farm Bill that includes better incentives to recruit more veterinarians to work in underserved areas.
The overall hearing addressed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research, extension, and education programs, and included testimony from Alcorn State University President Dr. Felecia M. Nave.

“I want to talk about rural veterinary medicine.  In Mississippi we have a tremendous shortage, and across the country, that threatens the long-term viability of our livestock industries.  We have counties in Mississippi that don’t even have a large animal veterinarian, and that’s really what we’re hearing across the entire country,” Hyde-Smith told Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics.
Hyde-Smith added that the nation’s food security and economic security are put at risk without sufficient veterinary oversight.
The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has administered a Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program which Hyde-Smith said is diminished by the federal taxes on awards intended to help recruit veterinarians to serve in rural communities. She added that without this tax the issue of the shortages could be better addressed by relieving some of the financial pressures on rural practices.

“There are still critical veterinary shortages across rural America.  One reason for this is that these awards from NIFA are subject to a federal withholding tax, meaning that 37 percent of the dollars appropriated to this program go right back to the Treasury, instead of toward the educational debt of rural veterinarians,” said Hyde-Smith, a cosponsor of the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act (S.2215).
Jacobs-Young, who mentioned recent visits to Mississippi State University and Alcorn State University, concurred with Hyde-Smith on the need for more large animal veterinarians and agreed to work with the Senator on the issue.  The Under Secretary noted that incentives should also be used to diversify the pool of students in large animal medicine, many of whom are also needed to work in USDA agencies.
“So, the incentives are great.  Programs like the NIFA-led program are great,” Jacobs-Young said.  “We’ve also recognized an imperative to diversify our veterinary programs.  I toured and talked with some of the students at President Nave’s university at Alcorn.  The students are interested in animal science and veterinary science.  How do we encourage them and bridge a way for them to go into vet programs?” […]


SALTER: Missouri’s new attorney general learned courtroom ropes from a Mississippi grandfather

Studio portrait of Sid Salter.
(photo by Beth Wynn / © Mississippi State University)
Submission by Sid Salter
Somewhere from a place high on God’s mountain, lifetime Neshoba County resident Hugh “Boots” Harpole is smiling and bragging about his grandson Andrew Bailey, the newly-minted attorney general of the State of Missouri.
“Boots,” whose love and mastery of horses (especially the trotters and pacers like those involved in the harness racing enjoyed annually at the Neshoba County Fair) provided his nickname, was the longtime district attorney’s investigator for Mississippi’s Eighth Circuit Court Judicial District of Leake, Neshoba, Newton and Scott counties in east central Mississippi.
Harpole and his wife, Frankie, made a good life in Philadelphia. They raised two beautiful and talented daughters – Lorraine and Jessica. Now long retired, Mrs. Harpole is a beloved former elementary school educator and artist. “Boots” died in 2013 at age 88.

I always respected “Boots” and appreciated his kindness to me when I covered my first criminal trials for The Neshoba Democrat some 40 years ago. As fate would have it, that first trial was a murder case in which a husband was accused of the crime-of-passion slaying of his wife.
Recognizing a rookie newspaper reporter in unfamiliar surroundings, Mr. Harpole told me: “This in some ways is like church. Stand up and sit down when everyone else does, stay awake, and pay attention.”
It was good advice. Until Mr. Harpole retired from the state trial court’s judicial system, he was in the courtroom for almost every criminal case I covered in Neshoba and Scott counties. He served the taxpayers well.

One of “Boots” and Frankie Harpole’s grandsons is now the beneficiary of his grandfather’s influence from those long days back in the Neshoba County Courthouse. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Nov. 23 appointed Andrew Bailey as the new Attorney General of the State of Missouri.
Bailey, 41, is the son of Jessica Harpole Bailey and her husband, Ty, of Gluckstadt. “Andrew’s love of the law started when he was a child through my father,” Jessica Bailey told The Neshoba Democrat last week. “He (“Boots”) would take Andrew and his brother Simon to the courthouse while he was an investigator for the District Attorney in Neshoba County, and that’s where Andrew learned to love the legal system.”
The resume for Bailey is solid. He is a decorated military veteran (including two Bronze Stars and a Combat Action Badge during Operation Iraqi Freedom), a former county prosecutor, a former General Counsel for the Missouri Dept. of Corrections, and before his AG appointment was serving as Gov. Parson’s General Counsel.
Bailey and his wife, also named Jessica, have four children between the ages of six months and 10, including three foster children. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri and the University of Missouri School of Law.
Notably, the last two individuals who served Missouri as attorney general have found themselves representing that state in the U.S. Senate. Bailey is succeeding Republican U.S. Sen.-elect Eric Schmitt, who likewise succeeded Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley. Parson’s appointment of Bailey invited some media speculations in Missouri about his future.
Missouri media, connecting the dots with Schmitt and Hawley, wondered aloud whether Bailey would follow a similar path to higher office. But in the Bailey introduction press conference, he made clear that he would be seeking election as attorney general.

In making the appointment, Gov. Parson said Bailey “is the right candidate to lead Missourians as our next Attorney General” and that his designee “understands the need to do better, to be better, and with Andrew, better will not only be possible but achieved.”
Missouri State Senate Pro Tempore Caleb Rowden was circumspect in his assessment of Bailey, telling the Kansas City Star: “I think it’s a bit unfair to Andrew to compare him to anyone, you know. I hope he takes office and makes it what it’s supposed to be, which is, you know, really looking out for the people of the state as the chief law enforcement officer.”
Something along the mold of the way Bailey’s grandfather “Boots” Harpole did it back in Mississippi trial courts. […]