JACKSON – Jan. 27, 2017 – The Mississippi Department of Revenue (MDR) announced Tuesday that starting on February 1st the online retail giant Amazon will start collecting sales tax on purchases made by Mississippians.
MDR Commissioner Herb Frierson, a former Republican state legislator, recently applauded the move to collect the tax. “I appreciate Amazon for voluntarily stepping forward to collect the Mississippi sales tax. I hope that other e-retailers will follow the lead of Amazon.”
Following that move, yesterday, the MS House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee passed HB480, authored by Rep. Trey Lamar (R), a bill that would sign such tax collections on all online retailers into law.
United Conservatives (UC) strongly opposes these actions, despite the fact that some Republican leaders are pushing the move.
A number of officeholders are trying to convince Mississippians that this is not a new tax. But conservative lawmakers in Mississippi disagree. Sen. Chris McDaniel, today stated, “The argument that the so-called “use” tax is already on the books is irrelevant because an unenforceable tax is no tax at all.” McDaniel, who opposes the move, added, “upon implementing new ways to enforce the tax, those who favor the tax will guarantee that taxpayers will have less cash in their pockets while placing more money into the hands of government bureaucrats and career politicians. That’s a tax increase.”
Those supporting the tax increase have argued that “Mississippi is losing” somewhere between $67 and $134 million annually by not collecting the tax.
But McDaniel disagrees: “It’s not the state’s money. It has never been. Mississippians have an economic liberty interest in keeping the fruits of their labor. It’s the people’s money, and if the tax increase passes, the people will be losing between $67 million and $134 million each year.”