Commissioners consider food and drink tax - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

Commissioners consider food and drink tax

Shelby County is $14 million in the red.  County commissioners are getting creative in search of a remedy for a fiscal crisis. One idea up for consideration could make dining out more expensive.

"The current idea is a 2 percent tax on prepared food and beverage which is estimated to bring in $28 dollars a year," commissioner Steve Mulroy said.

It's a proposal in the very early stages.  But if passed, it would cost the average diner an additional $52 a year to eat and drink out. The idea is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of local consumers.

"I just can't see it we're just being taxed to death that's the way i look at it," Gary Bonds of Memphis said.

Bill Sumner owns Travelhost Magazine. He wants tourists to enjoy local restaurants without paying exorbitant prices.

"We're trying to get as many people out to restaurants as we can and we want them to get as much food as they can for their dollar," Sumner said.

Commissioners say they're looking at alternatives to raising property taxes or other sales taxes. 

Commissioners are looking for a revenue stream because, they say, cutting from the budget won't take a big enough bite out of the deficit.

Click here to e-mail Anna Marie Hartman.

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