Dear Linda Clark,

If legislation currently being discussed in the Mississippi legislature is passed, big businesses will receive millions of dollars in tax breaks at the expense of local tax payers; this according to a statewide association that advocates for local government.

 House Bill 1594 provides a 100 % ad valorem exemption for pollution control equipment installed by manufacturers and custom processors.  Unlike most tax exemptions that expire after 10 years, this exemption does not end.  Mississippi counties with manufacturers and custom processors will lose millions of dollars in ad valorem taxes in the very near future. The only alternative to make up for the loss will be at the expense of the property owners. Advocates of this measure are calling it a “green bill,” because it deals with pollution control devices, but in actuality, the pollution control equipment involved is mandated by federal law to hold these manufacturing companies accountable for their toxic emissions, waste runoffs, and other environmentally harmful acts. The Mississippi Manufacturers Association is advancing this measure.

According to Derrick Surrette, Executive Director of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, county government and therefore local taxpayers will get hit hard if this legislation is passed.

  “In this economy, at a time when Mississippian’s are already struggling, is it in our best interests to be giving further tax breaks to big business? There is no such thing as an exemption when some taxpayers escape paying their share of local taxes.  While the exempt businesses are not paying it, someone must, and the tax burden is simply shifted to other taxpayers.”

 “Also,” Surrette continued, “House Bill 1594 is too vague, lending it to an extremely broad interpretation.  There is little doubt that the companies in question will attempt to claim as broad an exemption as possible.  We need the law’s language to be made more specific as to what is considered pollution control equipment and what is not.  Also, unlike some tax exemptions, school taxes are included in the exemption passed yesterday. This means the school tax burden will also be passed on to others paying taxes in the county.  Finally, local taxing authorities already have the tools to exempt this type of equipment from local taxation as they determine appropriate and needed.  This law mandates an exemption regardless of the local county officials’ judgment in this regard.”

 House Bill 1594 is currently being debated in the Mississippi House Chamber.

The Mississippi Association of Supervisors is a non-political organization of which the chief goals are; to promote the opportunities and resources available in Mississippi counties, to provide a forum for the education and inclusion of all county officials, and to promote the interest and general welfare of the state so that the citizens of the state may be better served.

Sincerely,

Steve Gray 

(601) 353-2741

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