Residents may get to vote to raise their sales tax - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson, MS 02/22/09

Residents may get to vote to raise their sales tax

By Julie Straw - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Would you vote for a sales tax increase if it meant fixing Jackson's roads and beefing up local law enforcement?

"I would vote yes," said Jackson resident Marla Hershberger.  "We need our roads fixed.  They are pretty bad."

"No I wouldn't vote on it because its just a superfluous bill.  It doesn't really accomplish anything," said Jackson resident Richard Daley.

Jackson residents may get a to decide whether to boost the sales tax if bill 3268 passes in the house.  Friday the state senate narrowly voted it through after heated debate.

"What is the overall goal of this taxing?  What problem are you trying to solve here?" asked Republican Senator Doug Davis.

"We're trying to solve a problem with the city of Jackson having too little revenue to cover a lot of its expenses," said Democratic Senator John Horhn who is running for Jackson mayor.

Senator Horhn said raising the sales tax from 7% to 8% could generate $21 million dollars a year.  70% of the money would go to road and bridge repairs, the other 30% to public safety.

"So it could just have a huge impact on our ability to build a police department to the numbers that we think we need," said Jackson Police Asst. Chief Lee Vance.

The tax would not apply to groceries, restaurant meals, hotel expenses and big ticket items like cars.  Some senators fear a sales tax increase would take money from people who live outside the metro area but drive to the capital city to shop.

"This proposal taxes poor people who live in rural areas of the state," said Democratic Senator Hob Bryan.

The bill passed 30 to 18.  The sentate may debate more before passing it on to the house.

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