Cities need sales tax revenue


Comment & Observation

By Joe Lee III

The city leaders of Columbus and Oxford last week unanimously passed resolutions calling for a special session of the legislature to pass a law sharing online tax revenue with Mississippi cities.

Mississippi cities receive 18.5% of the state’s seven percent sales tax for sales occurring in the cities. It is only fair for cities to receive the same allotment from online purchases of their citizens. This is vital revenue that has been bleeding from local governments since the rise of internet purchases.

It has also severely hurt local brick and mortar stores, and has been a death blow to many mom and pop operations that have been the retail and civic backbone of local economies and communities for decades.

The Mississippi House previously passed a bill that would distribute the tax money to cities for infrastructure work, but the Senate killed it. There is definitely a need for infrastructure work, but for the state to earmark the money is a mistake. That will just lead to a financial shell game forcing cities to shuffle money around needlessly. The money should go to cities without restrictions other than those imposed by the present law.

With today’s technology, it should be a breeze to allot the money to each city via the shipping ZIP code.

Internet sellers enjoyed a free ride on sales taxes required to be collected by local retailers until a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. Mississippi’s Revenue Commission estimates that Mississippi will collect about $50 million in internet sales tax the first fiscal year and $75 million the next.

Election interference

Lots of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth nowadays about election interference. We’ve had election misrepresentation and “interference” since the first election. The only difference was then the vehicles were anonymous pamphlets and posters.

There is little doubt that the Russians meddled where they should not. It is hard to understand why anyone would take up for Putin and his lot.

It is even harder to understand why many of the people squawking loudest about a possible cyber invasion of the election process are the same ones pushing for Internet registration and internet voting. That is opening the doors at both ends of the barn. We might as well ask the hackers whom they want and save a lot of election time and anguish – take a “may the best hacker win” approach to elections. The best answer, of course, is old fashion paper ballots – hanging chads and all.

Additional Jackson flights

Frontier Airlines will soon be flying from Jackson to Denver and to Orlando.

Some tickets may be as low as $39 one way, but beware of additional charges for a carry-on bag, priority boarding, seat selection, checked bags, etc.