Local city, county leaders favor legislation that kicks back cash, control

Jackson metro-area leaders support legislation that kicks back more dollars and more local control to cities and counties as the 2018 legislative session nears.

MML’s first key legislative priority is a familiar one, a push to increase the diversion of sales tax from the state to municipalities from 18.5 to 20.5 percent. The additional revenue specifically would be allocated for improvements to water, sewer or street infrastructure, which municipalities say are among their top concerns.

From 1979 to 1992, the Department of Revenue gave 20.5 percent of sales tax diversions back to cities. In the early ’90s, the state decreased that amount to 18.5 percent, where it has remained. Since then, the cost to cities for basic infrastructure maintenance has risen 10 to 15 percent, Veazey said.

In larger Mississippi cities, the legislation would mean millions of dollars in recouped collections.

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba and his administration may have gotten a late start on submitting their legislative priorities, but he said his team has been intentionally deliberate.

The MML is waiting for DOR’s projections on how much additional revenue would be funneled back to cities if the increased sales tax diversion bill were to pass. Veazey said the department’s 2016 diversion tax estimates would be comparable to what cities would see in revenue for 2017. Based on those numbers, Jackson would see about $34 million in additional revenue.

Clarion Ledger