Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Bigger Pie: Change Tax Code to Help Cities

The way to solve Mississippi’s problem with the struggling condition of its bridges is to adapt the state’s tax code to changing times.
When someone buys a good or a service from a brick and mortar store, the store collects the state’s 7 percent sales tax on behalf of the state. Some of that money is later sent back to municipalities.

If the item is bought online and the seller has a physical presence in the state such as a store, warehouse or office, the state assesses what is known as a use tax. It’s the same amount as the sales tax, 7 percent, but unlike the sales tax, none of it goes to municipalities. Most of it goes to the state’s general fund and last year that added up to more than $310 million.

In-store pickup of items bought online is considered use rather than sales tax even if the item is picked up in a store in the city where the tax was collected.

The problem for municipalities is that the future is in e-commerce. While sales tax collections have increased in the last five years, the use tax is the only tax revenue that’s increased consistently this year.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, e-commerce sales have increased 33 percent over the last year. Since 2009, online sales have gone from just four percent of all retail transactions to 8.9 percent, a 50 percent increase in just under a decade.

The problem for Mississippi cities is that if the trend toward online sales continues, their ability to fund basic services will suffer. That includes water and sewer infrastructure, fire protection, roads, bridges, police protection, parks and other essential functions of government.

One of the chambers in the Legislature passed an solution that would’ve disbursed 30 percent of use tax revenue to cities and counties. The Mississippi House passed House Bill 722 in this past session unanimously, but the Senate allowed it to die in committee without a floor vote.

If the bill had been passed 12 years, ago, cities and counties would’ve received $512 million apiece. That’s an average of $42 million per year. While that won’t fix every substandard bridge or fill every pothole, it’s a start.

The first step to fixing the state’s bridge woes has to start with tax policy. Changing the law to disburse use tax revenue to cities and counties has to be the first step in a bigger conversation on how to modernize the state’s tax code.

A line in an old song rings true — “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” Choosing not to decide shouldn’t be an option for Mississippi policymakers when it comes to helping cities and counties amid a changing retail landscape.

This post is sponsored content provided by Bigger Pie Forum.





18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good points, and I don't disagree. However, that use tax revenue went into the State General Fund and was spent somewhere. And Mississippi has struggled to meet its annual budget for several years. If some portion of the use tax revenue is pushed down to cities and counties, it will put more strain on the State budget. It's a zero-sum game.

The proposed concept and bill discussed above moves dollars around, but doesn't address the real problem - a shortage of tax dollars OR too much government spending.

Anonymous said...

There is no shortage of tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

It's an interesting problem, and I'm glad someone's out there thinking about the issue.

My primary concern is *which* municipality will be getting the cut for the sale in question? Will the municipality where I've made the purchase get a cut of the sales tax, or will the municipality where the warehouse/computer server is get a cut of the sales tax?

From where I'm sitting, I want my local municipality to get the lion's share of the funds. If the proposed plan does not do this, then it's not going to help my local municipality adapt to the 21st century economy. Any plan that doesn't lead to my tax dollars going to my local municipality is all hot air and will not get my support.

Anonymous said...

Government never has a tax problem, but they always have a spending problem.

Anonymous said...

I would rather my mayor had a say in how the money is spent vs. Philbilly and Tater extorting the General Fund for political purposes.

Anonymous said...

The answer to the problem is really a simple one.
Stop thinking up new ways to spend the tax money we do have coming in.
Stop wasting the tax money we have.

It is very easy to think up new ways to spend money if the money you are spending belongs to another person.

Anonymous said...

Would a reasonable remedy not be to increase the use tax rate (sharing everything in excess of 7%) to incentivize brick and mortar sales? Reapportioning the money will do nothing to solve the woes of Mississippi.

Perhaps, this solution might hinder growth in a state that is behind in the broadband game, but revenue is revenue. Think of it as a "convenience fee."

Good luck passing anything with that awful curse word - t@x - while Tate is still Lt. Guv.

Also, I appreciate the Rush lyric reference.

Anonymous said...

Laughed reading Jeff Amy's 'Goodbye Pat Robertson' puff piece this weekend when it was implied that the government should go on a hiring spree in order to fix PERS.

There is little doubt that the plan is to treat the symptoms, not the illness, until PERS goes terminal.

Anonymous said...

I pay enough damn taxes already !

Anonymous said...

Money is the mother's milk of politics.

Anonymous said...

I know this is a basic question, but where exactly is the waste in state government? I agree it exists, but are there a few agencies or bodies that outdo the others waste-wise?

Anonymous said...

Before any money based on new funding is passed on to counties for roads and bridges I want to see all supervisors in 82 counties to be audited. The audit to cover an extended length of time that provides how $$$ have been spent for ongoing expenses of roads and bridges not fish fries at election time. When supervisors from certain counties adamantly start deflecting blame for bridge closures without discussing solutions and putting nose to grindstone, I grow suspectful of them all. These guys blame Mitch McConnel and his wife or sue because they didn't take action before bewitching hour. Bare in mind bridge closings were no surprise. Doubt State Auditor Stacey Pickering is in tune with as his focus is most likely moving up the political food chain. Oh well!

Anonymous said...

Without question the most ignorant and CROOKED bunch in this state are the elected officials at the county level. I’ve worked with a high % of them over the years and have found only a handful to be honest public servants. The rest are self serving sicophants that should be investigated, tried and incarcerated.
Book it.

Anonymous said...

1:22

ALL OF THEM! Guarantee all private business owners could walk thru ANY state agency and find LOTS of places to cut! Their vision is different... both of them!

Anonymous said...

Riech wingers be all like:

A proposed solution for local government spending short on tax revenues doesn’t address the problem that government spends money, period. Government shouldn’t spend money. It should cease to exist and default on prior obligations so I can keep just a lil more of meh tax money. Meh knowledge of post modern capitalism in America boils down to meh greed and that’z all that mattahs. If’n the whole financial system collapses by my postionz rendering meh paper money useless, I don’t care. I gotz sum gold shillings, speculimate in crypto, and have it all figured out. By my own ignance, I am advocating for collapse and gotz dem MRE’s on standby along with a copy of the Anarchists cookbook. Have ya read dem Dere fedrhulist papahz?

Anonymous said...

4:26.......

because utopian ideals makes them feel better and they don't really have a grasp or understanding of the context

spews some nonsense trying to be offensively funny....

there's a label for that...

Anonymous said...

5:12 Do you also 'talk' to yourself? Appears you're trying to post a supporting comment to (yourself) at 4:26.

Anonymous said...

Not the same person, 5:41.

The reason I’m mocking these posters is that every time what’s considered a ‘voluntary’ tax is proposed to lift the non-voluntary tax burden, it’s shot down probably by the same individuals/posters.

Our politicians had to “unknowingly ��” sign a bill to authorize sports betting to enact some sort of voluntary tax on winnings rather than impose new taxes on everyone, and the details of all of that haven’t been sorted out yet.

2 prongs to modernizing Mississippi’s tax code: (1) slowly transfer imposed taxes to voluntary taxes where possible i.e. state lottery, etc where possible
(2) knock out corruption where it exists to make sure what taxes we pay, voluntary or not, are being spent wisely. Not on double dipping contractors and things of the sort.

Otherwise the same song and dance will continue and more bridges, roads, whatever will shut down and the core function(s) of government will be abandoned while we spend and insane amount of money on things like Medicaid, a government program that parades around as a viable option to health insurance for the impoverished.

I spent,
$168.00 on Amazon for Mother’s Day.
$19.16 on two day shipping to her house as I am not a prime member and barely use the online vendor except when I need bought items shipped to another state and I don’t feel like fooling with all of that.
$187.16 before taxes.
Estimated Tax Collected:
$18.25 (less than S&H)

Total = $205.41
Should “just the state” get the whole of $18.25 since Amazon is imposing taxes on sales anyway or should a city receive some of that ‘use tax’? Let me rephrase that question. Should counties be able to use some of that money to fix their shutdown bridges or not?

2016 Hottest Reporter Poll

Suscribe to latest on JJ.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel

Who is the hottest reporter?

Archives

Who is the Hottest Reporter in Jackson?

Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS
.