Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 28, 2016

Legislature needs to adopt election reform, increase gasoline tax

The reforms in voting and elections proposed by Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and the Mississippi Economic Council’s recommendation to fund urgently needed road and bridge repair and maintenance by increasing the tax on gasoline, should be enacted during this legislative session. State newspaper columnists carefully examine the merits of both proposals on these pages today.
After every election, we hear lamentation over low voter turnout. Election reforms are not likely to offset voter apathy, but making it easier to vote — with online registration and early voting — could encourage more participation. If we keep on conducting our elections the same way we have always done and expect different outcomes — we all know what that defines.
“It should not take a bridge collapse costing human lives to appreciate the concept of maintenance,” Wyatt Emmerich states in his column on page A5, lauding the recommendation by the Mississippi Economic Council to raise gasoline taxes to fund road and bridge repairs.
Legislators are capable of designing an indexed increase in the per gallon gasoline tax now while the price is low that could be reduced if fuel prices rise to a predetermined benchmarks. There may be other imaginative solutions brewing even now to provide funds for road and bridge maintenance and repairs, but it is imperative that legislators not strangle on a no tax mantra and fail to develop an immediate solution.
Good ideas are on the table. It’s now the job of our state senators and representatives to turn them into law and policy.

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