Republican officials offer no tax pledge

JACKSON — Republican state officials delivered a “no tax” pledge Thursday to a meeting of Mississippi business leaders.

The Clarion-Ledger reported Gov. Haley Barbour, usually the final political speaker at Hobnob, was not in attendance but sent a video message to participants in the Mississippi Economic Council’s annual Hobnob social event that also touched on the “no taxes” message.

“We’re not going to have a tax increase,” Barbour said.

While Barbour is term-limited and cannot seek another term in Mississippi’s statewide elections next year, several of the key speakers are expected to run for office.

Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican who is expected to run for governor, touted his platform for the coming legislative session, including performance-based budgeting and immigration reform. He also stressed the no taxes mantra.

“Now is not the time to raise anybody’s taxes,” he said.

Rep. John Mayo, a Democrat from Clarksdale who was speaking in place of House Speaker Billy McCoy, said he recognizes that there is no appetite for new taxes, but he will propose a so-called “soda tax” on unhealthy drinks.

“We are facing a lean year,” he said. “I would hope there is some room to combine cuts and some increase in revenue.”

The Associated Press