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Tourism group faces stark future after restaurant tax ends

Leaders of a northeast Mississippi tourism group are planning cuts after lawmakers didn't renew a $2-million-a-year local restaurant tax.

Posted: Jul 15, 2018 11:17 PM

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — Leaders of a northeast Mississippi tourism group are planning cuts after lawmakers didn't renew a $2-million-a-year local restaurant tax.

The Commercial Dispatch reports that the Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau seeks to reduce spending to operate through year's end.

The tax expired June 30. The last disbursement of tax revenue will come in August.

The bureau has already cut two full-time employees and one part-timer.

The group had $682,000 in the bank on May 30, one-third of its $2 million yearly budget.

The bureau could eliminate $36,000 in funding to four local festivals. It must also decide how to pay a $5,000 monthly payment on a building.

President DeWitt Hicks says he's confident the board can operate through the end of 2018, but he's unsure what will happen after.

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