Mississippi's mayors are asking lawmakers to support bills that would help them collect additional revenue. The Mississippi Municipal League believes the extra money will help them fix their cities crumbling infrastructure.
Mayors from across Mississippi descended on the Capitol yesterday, urging lawmakers to support two bills that would allow municipalities to collect state income tax refunds from individuals who owe money to those cities. Anthony Witherspoon is the mayor of Magnolia. He says cities and towns need to be able to make repairs and update services without raising taxes on residents.
"This is one way to put money back in the local coffers to be able to finance infrastructure development especially when you look at different types of unfunded mandates that are coming down from EPA to EDQ," says Witherspoon. "Everyone is now dealing with that issue and need to be able to have alternative means of financing those types of projects."
While the mayors were optimistic lawmakers will respond to their request, lawmakers are not so sure. Jeffrey Smith is the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.
"There's really not a whole lot the local people can do other than raise taxes probably," Smith says. "That is something the legislature as a policy decision has been hesitant to do."
In the previous years, the Mississippi Municipal League has asked lawmakers to pass a local option sales tax, but lawmakers rejected the idea 16 years in a row.