Too easy to cheat

Mississippi’s tax collections, after months of sluggishness, showed a hopeful sign last month.

Revenues came in at $17 million, or six percent, ahead of projections.

There was, though, one disconcerting number in an otherwise positive mix: Sales tax collections were $12 million behind projections and $8 million behind last year’s figure.

Maybe that’s a further reflection of the trend toward online shopping, which the state is just starting to address. Or maybe it’s old-fashioned cheating by brick-and-mortar stores, as Revenue Commissioner Herb Frierson seems to suggest.

He said his agency only has the resources to audit three percent of the businesses required to collect and remit sales tax. That’s not enough.

The Legislature should put the necessary muscle into keeping everyone honest.

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