GUEST COMMENTARY: Brandon Mayor Butch Lee

GUEST COMMENTARY: Brandon Mayor Butch Lee

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The US Supreme Court ruled last month that states can require those who sell goods with no physical presence in our state to remit sales tax. That puts our local business owners on a level playing field with internet sales.

However, the State has always collected an internet sales tax on a voluntary basis.  Known as the "Use Tax," the State keeps 100 percent of these funds. This shift directs more funds to the state and less to cities.

Cities generate over 76 percent of all sales tax dollars for the State of Mississippi.  Unfortunately, only 18 percent of those funds are sent back to cities and towns working to provide basic services to the taxpayer.

Internet sales will continue to grow and diversions to cities will continue to shrink.  For over a decade, our Legislators have been asked to return the sales tax diversion to cities back to the 1992 level of 20 percent and they simply refuse.

Clearly, the internet "Use Tax" is sales tax.  It's time to end the sales tax shell game so cities can fund better police and fire departments, pave streets and maintain infrastructure.

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