THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2007

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Dowdy: Elect Democrats to cut taxes

JACKSON (Thursday, May 24, 2007) – Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Dowdy said today that electing Democrats to state and legislative offices this year is the only way to guarantee immediate tax relief for everyone.

Republican Gov. Haley Barbour told The Clarion-Ledger on Wednesday that he believes in taxing groceries – which is no real surprise because Barbour vetoed cuts in the state grocery tax last year and had a GOP ally kill the issue this year in the state Senate.

“Can you believe that?” Dowdy said. “Haley wants people to believe he supports lower taxes and supports reforming the state tax system. But when given prime opportunities to do that during the last two years, Haley has slapped the people in the face and emphatically said ‘No.’”

Mississippi taxes the sale of groceries at 7 cents on the dollar, one of the highest such taxes in the nation. Democrats in the Mississippi Legislature have tried the past two years to reduce the grocery tax while also raising the state’s 18 cents-a-pack cigarette tax.

But Barbour, a former tobacco lobbyist who is still protecting big tobacco, has helped kill the issue both years.

Barbour told The Clarion-Ledger that 450,000 Mississippians receive food stamps and don’t pay the grocery tax. In the process, he intentionally ignored this fact: Thousands of others earn too much money to qualify for food stamps but not enough money to adequately support their families.

Dowdy said the bottom line is simple – everyone buys groceries regardless of their income or economic status and, therefore, everyone would financially benefit from cutting the grocery tax.

Barbour told The Clarion-Ledger that an unspecified, major tax cut would be part of what he called significant tax reform. But, as in past interviews, Barbour didn’t say what his “mystery tax cut” will be, what it could be or when it will happen.

“And this guy wants us to trust him to be fair on taxes?” Dowdy said. “Haley Barbour is two-faced on important issues. We can’t believe anything he says. He isn’t specific. He panders to the public. And he tells them what he thinks they want to hear.

“It’s time for a change. We need to elect Democrats.”

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