With the start of the 2014 legislative session, the Mississippi Municipal League, the official non-profit private organization of cities and towns in Mississippi, will be advocating passage of the Citizens for Economic Development Act (CEDA).
The purpose of CEDA is to allow for local referendums adding up to an additional 1percent sales tax levy for specific capital and infrastructure projects. The projects would be identified on the ballot and passage would require 60 percent approval by municipal voters.
CEDA, according to the Mississippi Municipal League, has a number of advantages. The revenue stays in the community, a CEDA levy is never permanent, it gives citizens a vote on the future of their community, CEDA revenues provide for the creation of jobs and CEDA is an option for voters, not a mandate.
Cities and towns throughout Mississippi, like Corinth, are faced with the problem of aging infrastructure, streets in need of repair, old and outdated sewer and drainage systems and other issues.
A millage increase is one of the few options available today to raise needed funds for repairs and improvements.
An argument made by some in the legislature is they oppose increasing taxes. Allowing city residents to decide for themselves whether or not to raise the sales tax simply isn’t voting for a tax increase. It is voting to allow citizens the right to make their own choice.
Given the opportunity, some cities will vote for the additional sales tax to improve infrastructure and fund capital projects and some will vote against. However, the bottom line is, the Mississippi Legislature owes the residents of our towns and cities the opportunity to decide for themselves.
Passage of CEDA puts the decision in the hands of the voters.