City voters to decide new tourism tax

Staff Writer

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A proposed tourism tax increase bill as been signed by the governor, and now it’s up to citizens to vote on the one percent increase on restaurants and hotels.
According to Grenada City Manager Trey Baker, House Bill 1563 was signed March 27 by Gov. Phil Bryant, making the next step placing the direct referendum on ballots for city voters to decide.
Baker said no election date has been set yet, but plans are being made to set one. He calls the signing a big step for the Grenada bill.
“This is huge for Grenada that the governor supported this,” Baker said. “This is a legislature that’s not big on revenue increases, but the bill got support from both the House and the Senate.”
Tourism Director Gary Worsham, who has pushed for the one percent increase since taking on the tourism job, said any bill that calls for a tax increase has to be a direct referendum.
“Now that the bill is signed, it goes to the city voters,” Worsham said. “The vote will have to pass with a 60 percent approval.”
Worsham said he is currently working with Baker and Matthew Harrison, executive director of the Grenada Economic Development District, for a study on how the increase can impact Grenada.
Worsham has expressed his desire to build a sports complex with the tourism increase dollars.
“We’ll work together on an economic impact study on the sports complex and also look into a campaign strategy,” Worsham said.

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