House Speaker Philip Gunn told a group of DeSoto County business leaders that Mississippi would receive more than $ 4 billion for infrastructure projects and that it faces a “unique opportunity “to improve its roads and bridges and expand broadband access.
Gunn was the keynote speaker Friday at the DeSoto Economic Development Council’s quarterly lunch and said the state has $ 1.8 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to spend on projects, and $ 4.4 billion additional dollars underway as part of the $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill. which was recently enacted into law.
“It’s a good lick,” Gunn said. “I don’t think we’ll ever see this amount of money given to the state of Mississippi again to do good things for our state. We are going to spend a lot of money on roads, bridges and water. We have an opportunity here that we do not need to pass up. And DeSoto County is on the verge of great economic prosperity if we can spend these dollars in a way that helps you.
Gunn said expanding broadband access will be a big part of the spending.
“Internet connectivity is becoming a vital thing like electricity,” Gunn said. “Three years ago, many of us considered this a luxury. the the pandemic has revealed it. Many of you had to go home to work and depended on internet access. A lot of our students have to come home and do their homework and they have to have the Internet to do it. Today it is considered to be something vital for you to connect with the world.
Gunn also touched on other state issues, including redistribution, the ban on critical race theory in schools, the Mississippi 15-Week Abortion Ban Bill recently heard. on appeal by the Supreme Court and the elimination of state income tax.
He said DeSoto County would likely get a new legislative district as part of the redistribution due to recent population growth.
“In the last census, DeSoto County had the highest number growth in the entire state,” Gunn said. “You’ve had enough growth here to qualify for a new neighborhood. It reminds me of a whole host of opportunities.
Regarding critical race theory, Gunn said the legislature will ensure that anything related to racism is not taught in schools.
“From what I’ve learned about it, from what I’ve studied about it, it’s basically about teaching racism,” Gunn said. “And it has no place in the state of Mississippi.”
Regarding abortion, Gunn said he believes the US Supreme Court will uphold the state-imposed 15-week abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade and would allow states to regulate abortion.
“I think this is going to transform the abortion landscape,” Gunn said. “I think it will save millions of lives when the Supreme Court renders its decision. I have no doubts that they are going to do something to preserve human life. And it all started right here in your House of Representatives in Mississippi.
Gunn also advocated for the elimination of state income tax, which he said would result in a $ 371 million increase in the state’s gross domestic product.
“That means we’re going to sell $ 371 million more stuff,” Gunn said. “There is nothing wrong with getting rid of income tax. “