Mayors Again Back Local Option Sales Tax

Mississippi's mayors are calling for legislation that allows cities to put funding for economic development projects to a public vote.

The Mississippi Municipal League calls the measure the Citizens for Economic Development Act, or CEDA.

If approved, it would allow cities and towns to put a temporary sales tax on the ballot to pay for projects.

The tax would have to be approved by 60 percent of voters.

The initiative was proposed during the MML's Mid-Winter Meeting in Jackson.

"We're all hurting as communities and we need to be able to do those extra things to build the economic development growth of our communities," said Meridian Mayor Cheri Barry. "So in working with MML and the governor's office and being able to talk it out through our state I think it's a wonderful idea for our state to put forward on the CEDA program."

"Citizens have the right to determine their future," said Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree. "You know, two-thirds of the states in the United States actually have some optional sales tax."

The Citizens for Economic Development Act has only been proposed and is not law yet.

Mayor Barry said she foresees issues like streets and roads, city maintenance, and even ball fields being projects that might be put to a vote.