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Clock ticking for bill to cut sales tax

JACKSON (Friday, March 9, 2007) – Time is running out fast for a state legislative proposal that would cut Mississippi’s tax on groceries and raise the state’s tax on cigarettes.

House Bill 247 must receive a vote in the state Senate Finance Committee and full state Senate by Tuesday, March 13, or it automatically dies.

But Republican Sen. Tommy Robertson of Moss Point, the Finance Committee chairman, refuses to let his committee or the full Senate vote on the proposal. Robertson said he supports Republican Gov. Haley Barbour’s pledge not to raise taxes.

Last year, in the 2006 Legislature, Barbour vetoed two similar bills to reduce or eliminate the sales tax on groceries and raise the tax on cigarettes.

This year’s proposal would cut in half Mississippi’s sales tax on groceries from 7 cents to 3½ cents on the dollar. At the same time, the bill also would raise the state’s cigarette tax from 18 cents to $1 a pack.

Even Republican Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, president of the state Senate and a staunch supporter of the grocery tax cut last year, has refused to move on the issue.

Tuck has said the House bill will remain in the Finance Committee where Robertson is ready to act as sole judge and executioner – killing a proposal that passed the House last month by a 91-27 vote and has strong support among senators.

But wait. You can try to help save the bill by lobbying Robertson, Barbour, Tuck and other legislative leaders. Tell your senator that you support reducing the sales tax on groceries and you want them to pass the House bill.

You have until Tuesday to call and e-mail Robertson, Barbour, Tuck and others on the issue. While many lawmakers are home this weekend, you even have a chance to talk to them in person and voice your support for cutting the sales tax.

Hurry. Time is running out.

Contact information:
• State Sen. Tommy Robertson: (228) 475-5550 (work); (228) 475-8127 (fax); (601) 359-3246 (Capitol office); e-mail
• Gov. Haley Barbour: (877) 405-0733 (office); (601) 359-3150 (office); (601) 359-3741 (fax); e-mail
• Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck: (601) 359-3200 (office); (601) 359-4054 (fax); e-mail
• Other Senate members: You can obtain phone numbers and e-mail addresses for all other members of the Mississippi Senate by visiting the Senate Web site at


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