Local leaders across the state are hoping lawmakers will listen to their ideas about fixing roads and bridges. They know it's a hot button issue and don't want their needs lost in the shuffle at the State Capitol.
The Mississippi Municipal League is made of mayors and other city and county officials. They say their hands are tied, in many cases, on how to fix infrastructure problems.
These local leaders say more money from the state for infrastructure needs would be a win-win.
"Transportation and infrastructure is economic development," explained Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons. "I just plead and we beg our state leaders to make sure they put that as a top priority. That's economic development for cities and towns.
But the funding gaps aren't enough for the municipalities to cover on their own.
"We're asking the legislature to divert taxes back to us," noted Flora Mayor and MML President Les Childress.
That ask is coming in two different forms.
They're asking for a bigger piece of the pie from sales tax collection. They'd like the diversion to be increased from 18.5 to 20.5 percent. They'd also like a cut of the internet sales tax collections that are quickly growing in the state. Bottom line, the money they'd like to see redirected to their areas---would be used for infrastructure needs.
"Every year that you put it off, you're running into a situation where they'll be impassible and you'll have to close them," added Childress.
Some cities raised property taxes in an attempt to address serious infrastructure needs last year. The legislature failed to pass a bond bill last year that would've included money for the small municipalities.
"That cut out $3-5 million, that's what's usually appropriated for that," said Tunica Mayor and MML Legislative Chairman Chuck Carkier. "That would've been a huge benefit to several small towns that don't have a tax base. You've got towns that can't raise enough money when it costs $200,000 to pave half a mile of road. They can't raise enough taxes to do that."
The legislature has already started passing bills that address transportation and infrastructure needs. One of those bills that the House passed last week is a bond bill that would include money for those cities and counties.
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