Lawmaker deadlock kills restaurant tax in Mississippi county

A northeast Mississippi county will stop collecting $2 million a year in restaurant taxes because lawmakers couldn't agree on a renewal.

Posted: Apr 2, 2018 1:41 AM

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — A northeast Mississippi county will stop collecting $2 million a year in restaurant taxes because lawmakers couldn't agree on a renewal.


The 2 percent tax will expire June 30, since Lowndes County legislators deadlocked over expanding the tax to low-sales restaurants, Commercial Dispatch reported.

The current tax exempts businesses with less than $325,000 in yearly sales. The city of Columbus and Lowndes County supervisors asked lawmakers to remove that threshold and extend the levy for four years.

Such renewals are usually routine, but Reps. Gary Chism and Jeff Smith, both Republicans from Columbus, sought to retain the exemption, saying removing it would be a tax increase. However, Sen. Chuck Younger, also a Republican from Columbus, wanted to remove the threshold.

With local lawmakers disagreeing, legislative leaders declined to consider the measure.

Nancy Carpenter, executive director of the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau, said she and an accountant have been reviewing the bureau's budget and trying to find ways to reduce expenses.

"The decision that we make will not be pretty, but we will have a plan to survive through the end of the year," Carpenter said.

One of the things Carpenter said the bureau will look at is trying to find a buyer for a building that it bought for $450,000 in December 2015. Monthly payments on the loan used to purchase the building are $4,943, Carpenter said.

The bureau hopes to use the building for a children's museum. It has spent roughly $650,000 on the museum project, which includes the services of a design firm.

The bureau's board president, Dewitt Hicks, was the city attorney and his wife was on the convention and visitors bureau board in 1986, when the tourism tax was created. He said loss of the tax will be "devastating."

"It's very, very sad to see it turn out like this," he said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 111322

Reported Deaths: 3202
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7751171
DeSoto663677
Harrison481181
Jackson431978
Rankin380886
Madison371792
Lee341379
Forrest295177
Jones283182
Washington251497
Lafayette241742
Lauderdale2344130
Lamar214938
Bolivar198075
Oktibbeha194654
Neshoba1806111
Lowndes173962
Panola165136
Leflore160086
Sunflower157449
Warren152154
Monroe144872
Pontotoc143519
Pike136455
Lincoln134854
Copiah134636
Marshall132626
Scott123229
Coahoma123136
Grenada120137
Simpson118148
Yazoo117233
Union113925
Holmes113260
Tate112739
Leake112239
Itawamba109024
Pearl River108256
Adams104342
Prentiss101619
Wayne98521
Alcorn95512
George93517
Marion93242
Covington91625
Tippah85120
Newton84227
Chickasaw82024
Tallahatchie81825
Winston81521
Tishomingo79040
Hancock76927
Attala76525
Clarke71448
Clay67221
Jasper66616
Walthall63327
Calhoun60912
Noxubee59516
Smith58116
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52723
Tunica51817
Lawrence49514
Yalobusha48414
Perry48022
Carroll46012
Greene45317
Stone45014
Amite41513
Quitman4136
Humphreys39916
Jefferson Davis39411
Webster36513
Wilkinson32920
Kemper31815
Benton3054
Sharkey27714
Jefferson26310
Franklin2303
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22400372
Mobile14282314
Tuscaloosa9983132
Montgomery9691196
Madison899992
Shelby703560
Lee643966
Baldwin637567
Marshall426748
Calhoun410259
Etowah402049
Morgan394532
Houston363132
DeKalb316727
Elmore309552
St. Clair279742
Limestone269227
Walker268092
Talladega255034
Cullman225823
Lauderdale206340
Autauga199928
Franklin199131
Jackson199114
Colbert190627
Russell19023
Dallas185227
Blount183823
Chilton180531
Escambia170928
Covington164729
Coffee16409
Dale162551
Pike130212
Chambers127343
Tallapoosa127286
Clarke126716
Marion104229
Butler99840
Barbour9819
Marengo96721
Winston89913
Geneva8337
Pickens80317
Randolph79514
Lawrence79230
Bibb78913
Hale74529
Cherokee71514
Clay70712
Lowndes69927
Bullock63517
Henry6316
Monroe6279
Washington62112
Crenshaw59030
Perry5796
Wilcox55712
Conecuh55413
Fayette54712
Macon52919
Cleburne5247
Sumter46421
Lamar4575
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
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