Incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann said that if he is reelected, he wants to continue to cut Mississippians’ taxes, and he argues it is feasible because of conservative policies and spending he pushed in his first term.
“One of our goals, of course, will be to continue to lower the tax rate,” Hosemann said. “… We implemented the largest tax cut in Mississippi history, which will reduce the income tax rate to 4% by 2026 … And we are having discussions in the Senate on both the income and the grocery tax. And as you know, I am open to either or both. And by doing things like paying off $550 million worth of state debt … that saves us about $35 million a year in interest that can go back to lowering people’s taxes and education and infrastructure.”
Hosemann is running for reelection to a second and final term as lieutenant governor, overseeing the state Senate. Mississippi Today recently asked Hosemann and his opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, to share their ideas for the future.
Hosemann said Mississippi and state government are seeing an unprecedented economic boon that will allow focus on numerous priorities such as tax cuts, improving infrastructure, workforce development, education and health care.
“We’ve never been in a position where we’ve lowered the tax rate, paid off our debt and haven’t borrowed any money in what will be three years next year,” Hosemann said. “That just hasn’t been done in Mississippi before. In addition to that, we’ve also made reductions … We’ve reduced the number of (state employee positions) by like 5,700 … The first year we were here, we cut the budget by 2% … We’ve got $700 million in our rainy day fund.
“… When I told people we were going to run the state like a business, I think they had probably heard that before, but they’d never really seen it done before. But that has happened,” Hosemann said.
Hosemann said he pushed for raising teacher pay, and “we invested millions in adding thousands of quality pre-K seats for 4 and 5-year-old children, provided math and reading coaches for districts, and provided resources for school buildings.”
Hosemann said he has pushed “conservative values” in legislative policy, including “strengthening Second Amendment rights, passed measures to prohibit abortion, eliminated inappropriate materials from our libraries, and required sports to be played by biological gender.” In a second term, Hosemann said he would “continue ensuring our conservative values are protected in Mississippi.”
Here is a list of some legislative priorities he proposes if reelected:
“In the next term, as revenue rises, we will continue cutting taxes on working people, focusing particularly on the income and grocery taxes.”
Hosemann said he plans to “continue eliminating state debt and consolidating agencies/responsibilities of agencies where necessary to provide better services or stop waste in state government.”
Hosemann said the Legislature in his first term increased penalties and mandatory minimum sentences for violent crimes and if reelected “we will add prosecutors in judicial districts across the state, address challenges facing our correctional system, including a growing prison population and recidivism, and supplement local law enforcement needs.”
“In the next term, we will continue to fund major capacity projects without neglecting maintenance needs, bring access to high speed internet services in our rural communities, prepare sites for economic development … and engage in other match programs incentivizing local governments to also invest in local infrastructure.”
Economic and workforce development
“We will continue to support Accelerate Mississippi’s efforts, including the career coach program,” and will increase workforce participation through partnerships with community colleges and developing incentives aimed at small businesses.
Hosemann said he plans to “continue to make teaching in Mississippi competitive with neighboring states,” increase resources for special-needs children, increasing expertise in screening, teaching and therapy. He said he wants to “incentivize moving to a modified (school) calendar, particularly in underachieving districts.”
Health care/mental health
Hosemann said he will continue with programs and investment in growing the state’s healthcare workforce. He said he has been meeting with experts on a “regionalization concept” and other best practices in other states to improve health care. He said the Health Department is working on a comprehensive look at the state of healthcare, and a Senate select committee will be having hearings this fall “to determine the standard of medical care we have for every county,” and “The way to furnish health care to everyone is first determine what the standard of care is for every one of your counties.” He said, “that is going to result in us then funding to the standard of care — I don’t know if whether that would be from state assets or federal assets or both.”