Tax needs to be business friendly

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 8, 2016

Sure, Mississippi ranks at the bottom of all the “good” lists and near the top of all the “bad” ones, but our pride sometimes gets the best of us, particularly with how our government works.

If our grandmother were reviewing Mississippi’s tax code, she might say the state, “Has a lot of gall,” particularly in reference to the state’s antiquated and a bit insulting corporate franchise tax.

Despite the name, which might suggest to some that only fast food franchises and the like must pay the tax, the franchise tax applies to all corporations doing business in the state.

Email newsletter signup

The franchise tax charges corporations for the “privilege” of doing business in the state.

That’s right, the state charges companies for the privilege of putting their money into the state through investment.

In fact, the tax is tied directly to the money invested or the assessed value of the property owned by the company, whichever is greater.

Mississippi’s franchise tax ignores whether or not the corporation being taxed is making money or not. Make money or don’t, the tax is the same.

Last year Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves supported a plan to nix the $242-million annual tax. We hope Reeves and others manage to get that tax eliminated this year.

Mississippi might earn more investment — from Mississippi businesses and others — if we managed to rework the tax code to be a bit friendlier and a little less “uppity” when it comes to business taxes.