Itawamba County Republican Women and Representative Donnie Bell hosted an event with House Speaker Philip Gunn as the guest speaker on July 16.
With a crowd of around 70 people gathered in the ICDC board room, Gunn thanked the group as well as Bell for the opportunity to speak in Itawamba County, but he quickly shifted focus to crediting the Republican women for their vital role in unseating the longtime Democratic control in the state.
“The Democratic Party no longer reflected the values of the people,” Gunn told the group. “And for the first time in 136 years, the Republicans had enough seats to take the house. That was a direct result of the work of Republican women.”
During his address, Gunn touched on the issue of human trafficking and how the group was instrumental in bringing it to the attention of lawmakers.
“Because this group of women took it on as their issue, laws have been passed to tighten the reins on criminals and our state has a model piece of legislation that others are looking at across the country,” he said. “All of that started because Republican women took it on.”
After praising the efforts of the group, Gunn elaborated on issues, such as gun rights and his personal proposal to eliminate the state’s individual income tax and increase the sales tax.
Gunn told the crowd in his proposal, Mississippians would be exempt from individual income taxes in its first year followed by a total phase-out over the following ten years. The lost revenue from the income tax exemption would be offset by increasing the state sales tax from 7 % to 9.5% on most retail purchases.
“What this does is expand the pool of taxpayers,” he said. “That drug dealer who is not paying income tax, the visitors from out of state who are making purchases, it’s consumption,” he told the group. “The tax burden is spread more broadly.”
Gunn said Mississippi is one of three states whose population declined in the recent census and he believes by changing the current tax structure, more funds would become available therefore opening more opportunities for generations to come.
“We have to address things like this. We have to give young people a reason to stay,” he said.