State should stop inventory tax, manufacturers’ advocate says

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 13, 2009

Replacing the inventory tax in Mississippi with a tax credit could help business conditions in the state, a lead lobbyist for business interests said in Vicksburg Wednesday.

Mississippi is one of 12 states that taxes inventory, which can include everything from office equipment to heavy machinery, said John Baas, director of government affairs for the Mississippi Manufacturers Association.

Removing the inventory tax will again be prominent on a list of items for MMA’s lobbying efforts in next year’s session of the Legislature.

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“It’s a big burden on every business,” Baas said, urging restraint from local government attendees of Wednesday’s Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

“I don’t want you to start throwing rolls at me when I mention this, but I would like to see the inventory tax eliminated,” Baas said, adding MMA’s favorite alternative consists of a refundable tax credit after the inventory tax is collected by counties. Businesses would apply to the state Tax Commission for the credit.

Warren County has had requests for free port warehousing and exemptions on some inventory but has steadfastly opposed getting rid of the tax altogether.

Joining that list for next year’s session, Baas said, is eliminating the franchise tax, mandating drug and alcohol tests for workplace accidents, making autopsies easier for those found dead in the workplace and getting rid of ad valorem taxes on pollution control devices for cars.

Lobbying for business-friendly candidates has begun for the 2011 state and county election cycle, Baas said.

“Right now, we’re looking for business-sensitive people,” Baas said. “We’re asking communities, ‘Don’t you have a retired businessman or businesswoman that can run for the legislature to protect the jobs we have left?’”

The organization has 2,200 member companies.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at