By Dana Criswell
Over the past two years a majority of the State Representatives from DeSoto County have taken a hard stand against the constant raising of taxes by local governments. These taxes come in the form of sales taxes on items such as restaurant purchases and hotel rooms. According to the Mississippi Constitution, local governments who wish to raise taxes on their citizens in this manner must first seek permission from the state legislature. The proposed tax, once approved by the legislature, must then be voted on by the people of the city. That all sounds good and fair until the politicians get involved.
What has developed is a system of hide and seek that perpetuates the continuance of these taxes indefinitely without the knowledge of the people. When one of these local taxes is first implemented and voted on by the people the tax has a repeal date that requires the tax to end in four years. But what happens is that in four years, when the citizens expect the tax to end, the local politicians collude with the politicians in state government and quietly extend the tax without the knowledge of the local citizens.
The DeSoto delegation to the MS House has fought against this practice demanding the tax either end as promised or the people of the city be given the right to vote on extending the tax. As expected, some politicians hate the idea of giving people the ability to make decisions and have fought hard against ending this practice. This is exactly what happened this week when the vast majority of the MS House of Representatives voted against a bill that would have given the people of Southaven and Horn Lake the ability to decide if they wanted to continue a special tax.
SB2949 and SB2927 both proposed to extend a tax on the people without a vote by the people. The Representatives from DeSoto County attempted to amend both bills to give the citizens of each city the right to vote for an extension of the tax or to vote against an extension of the tax, but the majority of the House voted to not allow the amendment thereby stripping the citizens of their right to vote. What was left was the original Senate Bills that simply continued the practice of taxing people without giving them a vote.
The DeSoto delegation encouraged the members of the House to vote against SB2949 & SB2927 thereby cutting taxes.
As a citizen of DeSoto County and of the State of Mississippi I am appalled that politicians would vote to deny people the right to vote, but that is what happened in the Mississippi House of Representatives. By the way, this was done on a procedural voice vote so no record is maintained.
It is my hope that DeSoto County will continue to lead our state by demanding lower taxes and by continuing to listen to the people. The vote this week by the majority of the House may have been some members first vote ever against a tax. Hopefully this won’t be their last vote against the constant increase of taxes.