Extra taxes should have expiration date

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 8, 2017

Government buildings and the roads in Pearl River County are aging.  The county courthouse in Poplarville will be 100-years-old next year and our roads need a serious overhaul.

Reaching a century in age is a good run for anything, buildings and people included. And just like a centenarian, the building is starting to show its age.

The roof leaks, its marble steps have visible indentations from a century of trampling and the wiring is not suited for the 21st century filled with high-powered devices and Internet connections.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

So, in response, the current Board of Supervisors is resurrecting an idea proposed by a previous Board member, Anthony Hales.

His idea was to get the Legislature to let the county charge an extra cent on prepared food and lodging. Picayune already employs such a tax to help fund Friendship Park, so we know it can work.

Thursday, during the town hall meeting in Picayune, District III Supervisor Hudson Holliday proposed the idea to help replace the courthouse and get the aging roads in our county up to par. When he asked for a show of hands, most of the attendees raised theirs.

But one person in the crowd proposed an interesting caveat to that idea, put a time limit on the tax. Her proposal was only to ensure the governmental body uses the funds properly, if so the tax would be renewed with a vote.

Personally I think her idea needs a twist, only leave the tax in place until the bonds used to build a new courthouse and roads is paid.

Typically when taxes are initiated, they don’t end. Take income tax for example. Once a governmental body becomes accustomed to bringing in a certain level of income, that body expects at least that much, if not more, the following year.

By collecting the extra tax long enough to settle any debt incurred through efforts to update the county courthouse and road system, residents know our elected officials will be held accountable.