PETAL, Miss. (WDAM) - Petal city officials met with residents at the Petal Civic Center Thursday night to discuss the possibility of a referendum on a new sales tax on food and beverages at local restaurants.
The tax would be no more than 3%. Before the referendum is held, the Legislature would have to approve.
“A three percent would raise about $740,000 (annually), two percent would be somewhere in the $500,000 to $600,000 range, so either one of those options would be a big help for us, obviously,” said Hal Marx, mayor of Petal.
“I favor letting the people vote on this restaurant tax and if they approve it, then we’ll use that, and we won’t need to look at a property tax increase,” Marx said. “If it’s not passed, then the possibility is that the Board may consider a property tax increase, which I would be against.”
Some Petal residents who attended the meeting said they can’t support the new sales tax.
“I’m not in favor of any kind of increase in taxes or big government,” said Herschel Wren. “It’s like I told (the mayor, aldermen) tonight, they need to be more cautious about what they spend their money on.”
Others said they would vote for the new tax.
“The money’s got to come from somewhere,” said Ann McWilliams. “Do you want to increase property taxes or do you want to pay three more cents on a dollar when you go out to eat?”
Marx said aldermen could decide on a two or three percent sales tax increase at the next Board meeting.
He said if the Legislature gives its OK, a vote could be scheduled for July or August.
To approve the sales tax, 60% of voters would have to vote for it during the referendum.