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Make Mississippi the Opportunity State

Americans for Prosperity-Mississippi’s 2021 legislative agenda, Make Mississippi The Opportunity State, shows how lawmakers can roll back the bureaucracy and favoritism that keeps our state in last place and ensure every Mississippi family can pursue the American Dream.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals and businesses were fleeing high-tax and highly regulated states in search of a better place to work, live, and raise a family. Mississippi can be the opportunity state for those looking to relocate. We already have friendly, hardworking people, a low cost of living, and a prime geographic location for business. By rolling back unnecessary red tape and reducing taxes, we would not only create new opportunities for our current residents, we would incentivize businesses to relocate to the Magnolia State, unleashing new job opportunities that would give our economy a boost.

AFP-Mississippi advocates for policies that will create freedom and opportunity for all. Let’s work with our lawmakers to Make Mississippi the Opportunity State.

Rein In Taxes and Spending

Mississippians currently face a higher tax burden than any other state in the region, especially when it comes to corporate and personal income taxes. By eliminating the state personal income tax, our legislators could provide major relief to hardworking Mississippians, whether they are struggling to stay afloat or could use that money to start or grow a business. To make Mississippi the Opportunity State, we must also reduce government spending to relieve the burden on our taxpayers and ensure generations to come do not inherit an unsustainable debt. The legislature should resist the calls to create new departments of state government, which will inevitably grow beyond any perceived current benefit.

Remove Unnecessary Red Tape

Today’s unprecedented pandemic has caused major disruptions to our economy, the loss of countless jobs, the closure of numerous businesses, and the devastation of families across the Magnolia State. Considering the challenges Mississippians are facing, it’s more important than ever to eliminate barriers that make it harder for Mississippians to provide for their families and to find gainful employment.

One way to tackle this head on is through easing excessive occupational licensing requirements that prevent too many individuals from earning a living through their chosen trade or profession. Mississippi should also follow the lead of many other states in implementing licensing recognition across state lines to attract more hardworking people to make the Magnolia State their home and drive our economy forward.

State agencies should be required to remove unnecessary red tape that hinder the creation and growth of businesses in our state. They should also be required to consider the cumulative effect of red tape by eliminating at least one rule for each new one they propose.

Expand Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care

Making Mississippi the Opportunity State requires our lawmakers to take a hard look at health care quality, access, and affordability. Even prior to COVID-19, Mississippians struggled to access quality health care because local providers were limited in expanding their practices or offering new services because of outdated and unnecessary regulations.

Mississippi has limits – and in some cases prohibitions – on providing some health services to our people. Estimates show that if Mississippi had repealed its Certificate of Need (CON) laws, there would be 67 more hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers in the state, with roughly 31 of those facilities having likely been built in rural areas where they’re needed most. There would also be 36% more MRIs performed in lower-cost, non-hospital settings.

It is time to give health care professionals—such as nurse practitioners—authority to treat more Mississippians by removing unnecessary limits and allowing them to do what they have been trained to do.

Technology can provide underserved Mississippians with needed care through telehealth capacities, and outdated regulations should not hold back innovation. We must keep regulators off the backs of direct primary care providers who provide access to quality care at a low cost. These changes will give more Mississippians greater access to better care at a lower cost.

Reform Our Criminal Justice System

Mississippi must make strides to make our communities safer by being smarter on crime and softer on taxpayers. We should focus our resources on ensuring that people who have been in the criminal justice system are equipped to move on from the shadow of their past and become productive members of their communities. With the second-highest incarceration rate in the nation, we must also change how we decide who should be in prison, focusing on those who pose a real threat to public safety and using alternatives to incarceration for low level, nonviolent offenders.

Please also consider visiting VolunteerMS.com or follow us on Facebook at Americans for Prosperity – Mississippi to learn how you can engage with us as an activist. Mississippians may also learn more about how their legislators voted to remove barriers to opportunity during the 2020 legislative session by viewing our legislative scorecard

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