Life changing reforms are winning the day

This week the Empower team was in Atlanta for State Policy Network’s Annual Meeting. SPN works alongside a national network of independent state policy think tanks like Empower to help us connect, share ideas, and get better every year. The Annual Meeting has become the must-attend event for folks in our line of work and is truly inspirational.

For the second year in a row, Empower was nominated for the Bob Williams Award for Biggest Win for Freedom. While we were a finalist last year for our work on parole reform, this year we BROUGHT HOME THE HARDWARE!!!

What was this “Biggest Win,” you might ask? The Mississippi Tax Freedom Act of 2022, also known as the largest tax cut in state history. Under this landmark legislation, individuals will not pay income taxes on their first $18,300 of taxable income and families will not pay income taxes on their first $36,600 of income. A worker who makes $40,000 per year will see their taxes reduced by $417 a year, while a married couple making $80,000 would save $834 a year.

It was an honor to share the stage and share this award with our friends at Mississippi Center for Public Policy. When we work together, there is truly nothing Mississippi can’t do!

Of course, this doesn’t happen without the leadership of Governor Tate Reeves, Speaker Philip Gunn, and other key leaders who fought for this reform and did not rest until it was signed into law.

Everyone on the Empower team contributed something to this fight, but no one is more deserving of this award than my colleague Russ Latino. He quarterbacked our issue campaign, led the government affairs strategy, and worked alongside the policymakers to help them find a path forward.

As I shared in my acceptance speech on Wednesday evening in Atlanta, when harmful policies seem to be on the rise in states across the country, it is heartening to know, “there are still places in America like Arizona and Tennessee and even Mississippi where bold, conservative, life-changing reforms are winning the day.”