Critics of a new tax auction law say it gives out-of-state investors a leg-up over Mississippians. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
On the last Monday of August, many Mississippi county tax collectors hold their annual tax sales. People gather at the courthouse to bid on paying delinquent property taxes. Now a new state law allows counties to conduct the bidding online with the approval of county supervisors. Realtor Phyllis Parker teaches workshops on tax sales. She's worried fewer Mississippians will be able to win bids.
"All the local delinquent tax properties will be online open to all the 50 states. It means anyone, anywhere USA can bid on the property next to you," said Parker.
Parker also says out-of-state investors are less likely to make any repairs. She says, property owners have three years to pay their tax bill before investors can claim the properties. Senator Joey Fillingane of Sumrall authored the measure. He says online bidding is an option counties can use along with bidding in person. Fillingane says it about convenience.
"Once you open it up online you can have people in Mississippi, who can't be there at the courthouse on that given day, who can bid online. And like you said others from outside of the state can also bid. I don't think the county really cares where the money comes from as long as they get their tax dollars," said Fillingane.
Hinds County's Board of Supervisors voted not to begin the online bidding process this year, but say it will be implemented in the future.