/Bryant may bet on lottery, sports book, internet sales to fix roads

Bryant may bet on lottery, sports book, internet sales to fix roads

Multiple states have asked the nation’s highest court to overturn a 1990s ruling that prevented states from requiring internet sellers to pay use tax if they do not have a physical presence in the state. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments earlier this year, and could issue a decision in July. Bryant, a Republican second term, stated that the state’s revenue from internet sales and the lottery revenues “are very close” to what it needs to support its infrastructure. The Legislature would need to amend the law to direct funds from online retailers to infrastructure. According to current law, internet sales funds would be sent to the general fund. These funds are used primarily for education and public health but not transportation. Bryant also mentioned the possibility of funding infrastructure or transportation needs through the lottery. Sixteen states, including Mississippi do not have a lottery. According to the governor, he believes that there would be enough votes in Congress to pass a lottery during a special session. The governor also proposed sports betting as a third option. Recent rulings by the Supreme Court have ruled that sports betting is allowed in the US. Mississippi law allows bets on sporting events in its casinos along the Mississippi River or Gulf of Mexico. This was in advance of the Supreme Court’s expected ruling. To direct the funds from sports betting towards transportation, legislation is required. According to the governor, sports betting could generate $30 million in annual revenue for the state. This number may seem high, as the state would only receive 8 percent of the sports betting revenue. The 8 percent tax that is levied on profits made by casinos from other games currently nets the state $135 million annually. According to the University Research Center, the lottery could generate $90 million in annual revenue for the state. According to the Mississippi Department of Transportation, it requires approximately $400 million per year in additional revenue to address transportation issues throughout the state. Local governments also face funding problems due to a shortage of funds for infrastructure projects. These local transportation issues include the closing of over 500 bridges due to safety concerns. It is also unclear how much revenue the state will receive from online sales. Online retailers such as Amazon already collect the 7 percent use tax on all retail products. The state collected $47.8million from voluntary collections during a period of June 2017 to October 2017. A University Research Center study also estimated that the state would have earned between $105 million and $122 million in internet sales in 2016 if the retailers had to collect the use taxes. According to this, most major online retailers are already collecting the tax on the basis of a 2017 agreement with Department of Revenue. Since the Legislature refused to take up proposals to raise the motor fuel tax, state leaders have struggled to find revenue sources for transportation.