Biloxi reconsiders summer tax holiday weekend - - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi reconsiders summer tax holiday weekend


By Sylvia Hall – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi officials may soon take back their decision not to participate in the upcoming tax-free holiday weekend. Mayor A. J. Holloway said the troubled economy is why he thought it best for the city not to hold the tax free weekend, which is set for July 30th and 31st. But he soon realized Biloxi was the only city in South Mississippi not involved.

Last year's sales tax holiday brought a huge economic boost to the Belk at Edgewater Mall in Biloxi, according to area sales manager David McRay.

"It's a lot of business in here," said McRay. "You'll be surprised how many customers wanted to save that seven percent."

That's why he was devastated to learn this year, the Biloxi city council decided unanimously not to participate.

"It affects our entire weekend because our customers are going to drive to Mobile; they're going to drive to Louisiana and still get their tax-free weekend," said McRay.

In recent days, the city has found out it's alone in its decision, and Mayor A J Holloway wants to reverse it.

"I kind of gave a knee-jerk reaction and said, 'No,'" said Holloway. "We'd rather get our tax dollars. You know we've had 14 to 16 months of negative sales tax reports, so that's what I was thinking when I did that."

Officials expect the city council to decide Tuesday to participate in the tax holiday, which would mean shoppers won't pay tax on certain items July 30th and 31st.

"We will be participating, and we will not be charging any sales tax for those two days," said Holloway. "We thought it wasn't good for our merchants to not have that advantage."

The news is a big relief for Edgewater Mall's General Manager Terry Powell, who compares last year's tax holiday to Christmas, and calls it a benefit to the city instead of a detriment.

"I'm excited. It's just a good thing to do," said Powell. "I don't think it's so much about the loss of taxes that we're going to see on the clothing, as it is the gain in taxes that we're going to see on purchases made above and beyond the tax free items."

No matter who benefits, McRay is hopeful the city will follow through with the decision to reinstate the tax holiday.

"That would be fantastic," said McRay. "We'll be celebrating if they do."

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