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BIPEC Releases Legislative Scorecard; Names Rep. Hood Business & Jobs Champion

The Business and Industry Political Education Committee released its Legislator Business and Jobs Report Card Monday.

Two Democrats received an "A." Rep. Nick Bain was the only House Democrat to get an "A." He got an "A" last year. Sen. Steve Hale was the only Senate Democrat to get an "A." He got a "B" last year.

Ninety-four Republicans made up the rest of what BIPEC considers a "Business and Jobs Champion."

The grades were based on how lawmakers voted on 10 bills during the session that ended in April. Legislation ranged from that aimed at reforming the patent infringement claims process to cutting individual and business taxes.

The tax bills were the most high-profile of the criteria BIPEC used. House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, introduced a phase-out of the income tax that ultimately died. The same goes for Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves' plan to eliminate the franchise tax businesses pay.Lawmakers who voted for the selected bills were more likely to receive a higher grade.

Most of the legislation was pushed by Republican leadership.

"The tone and tenor of a legislative session is set by the leadership," BIPEC president Van White said at a news conference at the Capitol. Mississippi Association of Builders and Contractors president and CEO Buddy Edens said the report serves as "an unbiased assessment" of where lawmakers stand on legislation meant to either reform or create new business policy.

Reeves repeated a phrase he uses often."Government does not create jobs," he said. "It's our job to create an environment so the private sector can invest capital and create jobs. These are the votes that come before the Legislature that create that environment."

Said Gunn: "We're trying to get Mississippi in a position where all our constituents can improve their station in life, and we do that with jobs. We recognize that providing goods and services is the way to create economic prosperity."


Paid for by Joey Hood for Mississippi