Reeves supports multiple tax bills despite killing Northsiders’ CID efforts

By ANTHONY WARREN,

While Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves wouldn’t support a bill that would help Jackson residents better preserve their property values, he did back at least 12 other tax bills during the 2018 legislative session.

Among them, the Senate approved measures extending tourism taxes for Jackson, Brandon, Carthage, Vaiden, Hattiesburg, Starkville and Jackson County.

The Senate also authorized the cities of Moss Point and Pearl to levy new tourism taxes and authorized local governments to levy additional taxes on hotels and motels in Clinton and Hattiesburg.

All the bills were introduced in the Local and Private Legislation Committee. Eleven passed out of the committee and went to the floor for a vote. The Moss Point measure was double-referred to local and private and the Finance Committee.

Reeves spokeswoman Laura Hipp said the lieutenant governor supported those bills because they must be voted on by residents in the respective municipalities before taking effect.

 “Under the local option sales tax process, Mississippians vote at local precincts as they do for any election, and if the measure passes, an elected body – answerable to voters – oversees the new tax dollars,” she wrote.

Hipp said under the CID bill, an unelected body that is not accountable to voters would oversee tax dollars.

The 2018 CID legislation passed out of local and private but died in the finance committee.

Under the legislation, homeowners in the CID would pay a special assessment along with their property taxes that would be set aside for various public improvements within the district.

Before the tax could be implemented, the neighborhood would have to petition the city to create the district, and then would have to put the tax to a vote. Sixty percent of homeowners in the affected area would have to vote in favor before it took effect.

The homeowners’ association, or a separate entity chosen by the association, would be put in place to oversee how CID revenues are spent.