Mississippi cities push for power to set local sales tax

By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippi mayors say cities want the option of setting a 1 percent local sales tax to pay for specific projects like parks or road repairs.

Legislators have resisted this for years, and it’s not clear whether 2013 will be different.

Under House Bill 523 or Senate Bill 2145, the local tax could be set only if there’s a city election and at least 60 percent of voters approve.

Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson is president of the Mississippi Municipal League. He says the tax would help cities improve the quality of life.

Democratic Sen. Hob Bryan of Amory argues against the tax. He says people from rural areas would still have to pay it if they shop in cities, but they wouldn’t have a vote and wouldn’t get the benefits.