Leaders Push Local Option

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The Mississippi Municipal Association and the state Supervisors Association have joined together to seek legislative approval for a one percent local sales tax option.

The issue surfaces each year in Lauderdale County.

"It's not a tax increase unless the people vote on it and that's something that's real positive and I hope it helps sell it," said Jimmie Smith, District 2 supervisor for Lauderdale County.

Cities and counties would have to put the tax before the voters for a specific project and it would need 60 percent approval to pass. The money could not be used for the general fund.

Smith said the money would be used to pay off debt.

"It would come all back to the community that adopted it, so it would pay off all those capital improvements and that's really where this option sales tax is focused on, capital improvements," Smith said.

Smith said a quarter percent has recently amounted to over $2 million per year in Lauderdale County.

Board president Craig Hitt also endorsed the idea.

"The first response from any of us when we hear sales tax is no," said Hitt, who represents District 3. "But everywhere we go we pay additional sales tax. If you look at your receipts it you go to the Coast, if you go to New Orleans, you go to Memphis, there are local sales taxes that are added on and we need to be benefiting from the people who visit with us."

Supervisors are meeting in Jackson this week and will pitch the idea again to lawmakers.