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Sales Tax Diversion Bill Called "Fantasy" by Senator

Sales Tax Diversion Bill Called "Fantasy" by Senator
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Sen. David Blount, Jackson Speaking in Opposition to SB 2455
Desare Frazier

A bill to divert more sales tax dollars to Mississippi towns for fund roads and bridges continues to make its way through the legislature. As MPB's Desare Frazier reports, one senator calls the measure a "fantasy."

Lawmakers in the Mississippi Senate voted 42 to 9 for SB 2455. The measure would increase the sales tax diverted to Mississippi cities from 18 1/2 percent to 20 percent over 5 years. But there's a catch. The state's revenue must increase by 1 percent in order for the bill to take effect. Republican Senator Pro Tempore Terry Burton of Newton who co-authored the measure explains.

"Once 1 percent revenue growth is attained then an additional .3 percent will go to that 18 1/2. Once another year happens then there'll be another .3 percent.
Over a period of 5 years it goes to 20 percent eventually and then it will stay there," said Burton.

Democratic Senator David Blount of Jackson calls the bill "fiction" and "fantasy." He spoke out against the measure referring to Senator David Parker of Olive Branch who authored the bill.

"You've heard Senator Parker say he doesn't anticipate anything happening this year. You've heard him say to Senator Horhn that it might be 10 or 15 years before anything happens. We've seen gyrations in the house, bills voted on for show, all of this carrying on claiming that we're going to do something for infrastructure without doing the one thing that we need to do which is spend more money," said Blount.

Democratic Senator Derrick Simmons of Greenville is another co-author of the measure.

"If we're not going to pass legislation statewide. We need something to at least allow the municipalities to start fixing their own roads and bridges," said Simmons.

When the bill is fully implemented, $40 million will be dividied among municipalities. Senator Burton says before the end of the legislative session he expects to see hard dollars put toward the state's infrastructure needs.