(Communities) need the option of levying special sales taxes when their futures literally depend on it. But the Legislature has always jealously guarded its prerogative to approve every local levy before it allows the voters to do so.
This middle-man approach should be changed.
Legislation to allow cities to levy their own sales taxes has been rejected annually since the 1980s. The Legislature occasionally allows local options, usually for tourism-related purposes such as Tupelo’s hotel and restaurant sales tax.
But what’s wrong with giving cities the authority to make the case before their voters for a local sales tax without coming hat-in-hand to the Legislature? Local government, after all, is government closest to the people.
This year, the Mississippi Municipal League has gotten some traction in the House on a bill that would allow cities to decide for themselves whether to levy a 1-cent sales tax for specific projects. The tax would require 60 percent voter approval and would end when the project was paid for.