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It’s the tax base, stupid

Keeping up with what’s going on in the state legislature is part of my position.  Myriad other duties mean I devote little time to legislative issues.  However, the space at the right of this column is a good summary of what goes on each week, and I appreciate the House staff sending it to us.
One thing that we hear about every year during the legislative session is revenue–and, nine times out of ten it is followed with the word ‘shortfall’.  Again this year state tax revenue is falling short and the number and breadth of outreached hands needing more funding are increasing. Education needs more money.  Roads and bridges need more money.  Public safety needs more money.  The list goes on and on.
One theory, for lack of a better word, that I have on the issue of falling tax revenues has more to do with people than with spending.  Mississippi’s population is stagnant over the past several decades, yet the public needs have grown exponentially.  Little population growth, means little to no available workforce growth, means little to no income and spending growth, which means less tax revenue for an ever increasing number of needs.
See what i’m getting at?  Perhaps the state has too few producers to meet the needs of the treasury. We may be stuck with what we have.

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