Sales tax should be distributed evenly

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 14, 2018

Thursday a group of our local lawmakers addressed the public about several issues Mississippi voters face.

Of those issues, the one that stuck out to me was the current state of sales tax. It appeared as though many of our local senators and representatives have their work cut out for them to address the situation.

The problem at hand entailed loss of sales tax dollars, either through purchases made online, or at stores that are not within a municipality.

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It may be surprising to hear, but purchases made online through retailers for pick up don’t equate to tax dollars being sent to our local municipality.

The example used involved purchasing something as pricey as an appliance at Home Depot, and picking it up at the Picayune location. In this example, the company collected the tax and sent it to the state of Mississippi, but for some reason the city won’t get it’s 18.5 percent of that seven percent in sales tax collected.

How can such a loophole exist? If we purchase that very same item at the register, the city gets its fair share, so shouldn’t the same rules  apply if we use a computer at home?

But by whatever oversight, whether intentional or unintentional, it appears our lawmakers know they have a problem to fix.

I am relieved to hear that our representatives and senators have the problem on their radar, and as such intend to rectify the matter.

I also hope they can address a similar problem in regard to purchases in stores outside of a municipality. In this instance, county governments don’t get the same courtesy as municipal governments in the form of a returned percentage of sales taxes. The state gets to keep all of that revenue. That too, is a missed opportunity for our local governments to increase their budgets without increasing our ad valorem taxes.