Representatives in the House passed a bill that would collect 7 percent in sales tax from Mississippians who shop online. The measure could generate between $50 to $150 million in revenues for roads and bridges. But Monday, Republican Lieutenant governor Tate Reeves called the measure unconstitutional, saying Mississippi can't force companies that don't have a presence in the state to collect sales taxes. House Republican Trey Lamar of Senatobia, authored the measure.
" I'll just say I look forward to seeing the plan that the Lt. Governor is going to put forward to help our roads," said Lamar.
Republican Senator Joey Fillingane of Sumrall, agrees with Reeves. He chairs the finance committee and says a U.S. Supreme Court case prevents states from forcing companies to collect sales taxes if the firms don't have a connection to the state. Fillingane says internet sales are considered interstate commerce, which is under federal jurisdiction.
"We just don't have the authority as the state legislature of the State of Mississippi, to go in and change federal law or to overrule a federal court decision," said Fillingane.
House Democrat Bryant Clark of Holmes County, sees the issue as a tax shift. He says lawmakers have passed more than 750 million dollars in tax cuts for out-of-state corporations.
"I think we need to slow down. We need to come back next year. We need to roll back some of the those corporate taxes before we start rolling taxes onto the citizens of the state," said Clark.
Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn still supports the internet sales tax. The state department of revenue is proposing a rule that requires all large sellers to collect taxes after Amazon agreed to do so.