COLUMBIA, MISS. - Residents in the City of Columbia will vote on a referendum that will increase restaurant and hotel taxes by three percent. The referendum will help pay for a sports complex and several other renovations taking place in the city.
“This [referendum] would be specifically earmarked for tourism, parks, and recreations,” Justin McKenzie, the mayor of Columbia said. “This should be rebranded, [and] it shouldn’t even be called a tax. It should be called an investment.”
McKenzie believes this sales tax increase will help the city grow, and attract more tourists to the city.
“We would like to be able to host tournaments here that would bring people from other states and other cities to Columbia,” McKenzie said.
Ultimately, allowing the city to capitalize on its three percent hotel increase by using money that is coming from out of town. Not to mention, many tourists will also purchase lunch or dinner at local restaurants, providing another boost to the city’s economy.
“According to the Department of Revenue… it could raise about $750,000 a year,” McKenzie said.
The referendum holds a five-year life span meaning it will go away in June 2023, if residents approve the referendum May 6, 2019.