Mississippi Government Proposes Tax for Tourism

According to a report in the southern Mississippi-based Sun Herald, a Mississippi Governor's Commission recommended the imposition of a 1 percent sales tax on food and beverage, with funds earmarked toward a $20 million annual budget for tourism promotion. The stated goal of the tax would be to help the Mississippi Gulf Coast become "a tier one destination with a strong sense of place by 2010," according to the commission. Stephen Richer, executive director of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, told the paper that the tourism product "can perform much more successfully when we have the dollars to tell the story." Before the hurricane, almost a third of the region's jobs were related to tourism; in addition, more than 1,000 historic structures—a chief draw for visitors to the area—were destroyed or damaged, the paper said.

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