The second week of the 2022 Legislative Session began on January 10th. Even though it is early in the session, two monumental pieces of legislation were passed out of committee and were debated on the House floor. For the last 10 years, we have been watching the expenses of the State Budget. Our constant vision of budgets has allowed us to reach times like this. I believe we are making history for Mississippi’s future. HB530, or the Strategically Accelerating the Recruitment and Retention of Teachers (START) Act of 2022, was introduced to the Education Committee on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it was brought to the House Floor. The START Act would raise the average starting salary of a Mississippi teacher $6,000, to $43,000. This would make the average starting salary of teachers higher than both the national and southeastern averages. It would also give every teacher a pay raise between $4,000 and $6,000, effective at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, and give teacher’s aides/assistants a salary bump of $2,000. The bill passed with a bipartisan vote of 114-6, and it has been sent to the Senate for consideration. This was done to relieve a Teacher shortage. In the past, the difference in pay caused many of our Teachers, near the state line, to go to another state to earn more money. Other states not managing their budget, cannot match this deal. The Mississippi Tax Freedom Act of 2022 (HB531) was also introduced on Wednesday. It is similar to last year’s proposal but has some key differences. The bill would eliminate the state income tax, becoming the tenth state in the United States to do so. It would also raise sales tax from 7% to 8.5%, lower grocery tax from 7% to 4%, and cut car tag prices by 50%. For a household making $40,000, a savings of $1,300 is estimated. The extra 1.5% is not charged on many items in our budgets, such as: insurance, mortgage payments, car payments, prescriptions, food, etc. The final result, when it is fully implemented, would be the largest tax cut in Mississippi history. HB 531 passed by a vote of 97-12. The deadline for the introduction of general bills and constitutional amendments is Monday, January 17th. Many committees are waiting until all bills are filed to hold meetings. Floor action will pick up next week as bills are brought out of committee. Bills must be passed out of committee before they are considered by the House. Please pray for me to be a legislator that does what Mississippi needs. My phone number remains the same, 662-231-0133 and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be glad to hear from you. God bless, Randy.