Steve Wilson is the investigative editor at Mississippi Matters. He appears weekly on Wednesday mornings on WMXI 98.1 FM's "Pine Belt Daybreak" program in Hattiesburg with Michael Pol and Ted Tibbett to talk about his work and Mississippi politics.
On Wednesday, Wilson discussed how the Mississippi Legislature could help cities financially by either increasing the disbursement rate of sales tax revenues to municipalities (right now, the rate is 18.5 percent) or via another plan that would distribute 15 percent of the state's use tax revenues to cities proportionally in line with their sales tax disbursements.
With the recent decision in the Wayfair v. South Dakota decision, states can now levy internet sales tax. The state's municipalities are facing a future where sales tax revenues will slump as e-commerce becomes a bigger part of the marketplace. While use and sales taxes are assessed at the same 7 percent rate, only sales tax revenues are disbursed to municipalities. Most use tax revenue goes into the state's general fund.
Also, there was the new civil asset forfeiture database website set up by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.
The database will allow citizens to search by case document name or description, the law enforcement agency that seized the property or search within a specified date range. Having a database of this type will allow the public to find out how much civil asset forfeiture is occurring and what happens to those proceeds.