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The Overreaching Authority of State Government

539I understand the need for a uniform set of State rules that govern how Counties and Municipalities operate...to a point. But, can someone explain to me why local government's taxation decisions are any of the State's business?

Take my home State of Wisconsin, for instance. Cities are prohibited from enacting a Local Sales Tax, even if local residents wanted one. We are prohibited from doing what cities like Oklahoma City have done; enacting a one penny sales tax to drive infrastructure enhancements. And, one look at that city's meteoric growth and prosperity should cause any sophisticated resident to weigh the "pain" of a penny versus the development that has resulted in a sensational enhancement of the region's Quality of Life. And, yes, Oklahoma City residents continue to approve that penny tax every few years.

Why should State government have the authority to restrict a community's decisions on how best to prosper, indeed? Why should Florida's House of Representatives attempt to throttle local county's economic development efforts? And why should petty partisan politics deny a Mississippi community the ability to continue to fund its DMO when that destination's City and County governments both asked for the authority to do so?

That's what happened last week as the Mississippi Legislature adjourned without approving a requested extension of a Restaurant Tax for Columbus and Lowndes County...revenues from which provide almost all the funding for the DMO, support funding for the region's Economic Development effort and funds for community recreation facilities and festivals. And, the State's rejection of the tax wasn't because they were getting heat from their constituents.

It's because Senate and House leaders refused to negotiate a philosophical difference, preferring to attempt to prove their individual level of command and control. Which is kinda like what gangs and children do, with no thought to the consequence. And then, walk away with little more than a shrug of indifference.

And, that's simply wrong.

 

Bill Geist

Bill GeistBill Geist

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