MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Moss Point residents will soon decide whether to implement a two percent sales tax on prepared foods. Last week, the city’s board of aldermen established May 28 as voting day for the referendum.
According to Mayor Mario King, the tax could bring up to $400,000 towards parks and recreation and tourism for Moss Point. But the tax would come at a cost to restaurant owners within the city limits. However, King says he believes people will be willing to pay two cents on the dollar to see growth and development in the city.
“All of these people are asking for things to do. This is how we do it without having to charge a direct tax to the constituent base," said Mayor King on WLOX News This Week. “People in Moss Point want something to do, and they want our children to have fun.”
King said city leaders are working on the ground to inform citizens about the tax.
“We’ll be putting out signs, sending out text messages and doing a lot of different things. The community is actually leading this effort,” he explained.
WLOX went to five different restaurants in Moss Point to see what restaurant owners thought about sales tax. The owners of all five restaurants said they were not in favor of the increase.
“I don’t think you can tax your way into prosperity and keep businesses who operate on a very small level to keep existing," said Tim Dubose, owner of Dub’s Eatery.
Dubose stated that he thinks parks and recreation shouldn’t be the city’s biggest priority.
“I think trying to enhance our position in the city, educating our public, making it more competitive, that would be more important," he said.
Restaurant owner Donna Rogers agreed, “Something as simple as mowing the medians in the street. Housekeeping, maintenance, we can’t even get that done.”
Rogers runs Friend’s Barbecue and LaChelle’s Coffee on Main Street. She said that the proposed tax is too much for residents of a small town to handle.
“We’re already so financially strapped right now. Burdening the city with yet another tax especially with no plan, it’s just not good," said Rogers.
A vote of 60 percent is required for the proposed tax to pass.