Proposed shift in taxes to maintain roads

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 3, 2018

Roads and bridges within Pearl River County are hit or miss as to their level of maintenance. A prime example would be to take a drive north along Highway 11 from Picayune all the way to Poplarville. That trip starts with a fresh layer of asphalt that used to end at the entrance of Apple South, but has since been extended to the intersection of Savannah Millard Road. After that point, you can expect to feel a series of very small bumps every so many feet as you make that last stretch to Poplarville.

We all know that roads and bridges are maintained through a combination of state, federal and county dollars, mostly collected through taxes of some sort. Those taxes can include money collected when you fill up your tank and less well known, from your paycheck. This week, members of our state’s House of Representatives began discussions that may lead to a reduction in the taxes taken from our paychecks, but in turn increase the taxes we pay at the pump. According to Associated Press coverage of the discussions, if approved, the plan would do away with the four percent tax taken from the first $10,000 of our annual pay, and replace that with an additional 12 cents per gallon tax at the pump. Diesel would increase by 15 cents.

You may be asking yourself how the drivers of electric or hybrid vehicles would be affected. Well, electric vehicle owners would pay an annual $300 fee, while hybrid vehicle drivers would pay half that.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

To be honest, it makes more sense to collect funding for road and bridge construction and maintenance from those who are using them, as opposed to everyone who has a job. But, at the same time, since Mississippi is well known for having a lack of public transportation, anyone with a job more than likely has a car. If the change is made, the drivers of vehicles with poor gas mileage will end up putting more into the maintenance and construction of our transportation infrastructure, while the owners of more fuel-efficient vehicles will pay much less.