Not sure when the proposal appears on the ballot but it appears that voters in the Pine Belt are more amenable than those on the coast to levying the tax for recreational purposes with Waynesboro being the latest to put on a levy:
Waynesboro voters pass 1% restaurant, bar and hotel tax ~ Quametra Wilborn
A few weeks back Hattiesburg voters voted to add the 3rd cent to their levy:
With the Midtown development coming on line Hattiesburg has become a restaurant and bar “boom town”, which goes with the rest of the booming economy in the Pine Belt. People there don’t mind the extra penny on the dollar because the results are tangible. Most places parks and recreation are like mom and apple pie (most people I spoke with in Hattiesburg especially liked the fact the City was stepping up for its College as Reed-Green desperately needs a major renovation).
That was not true in Gulfport where the measure never made the ballot even though it would have benefited Parks and Recreation.
Here at Slabbed and in social media there are many folks voicing opposition to the new tax in Bay St Louis, which has not yet held its election. One difference is that in the Bay some of the money is slated to fund a new tourism bureaucracy at the local economic development nonprofit despite the fact there is already a local tourism nonprofit. This appears on the surface to be an unnecessary duplication of efforts.
Personally I question the wisdom of putting any additional money into tourism when the City can’t yet even house its own police department. I think this is why so many people there are voicing opposition to the coming tax referendum. The difference is pretty stark. In the Pine Belt you have amenities like the Longleaf Trace to show for the taxes the people there pay. In the Bay you get contract services and additional jobs at a local nonprofit while the taxpayers get the trickle down impact.
An FYI for the tourism folks on marketing the Bay. Word of mouth has done more to promote Bay St Louis in the Pine Belt for people looking for second homes than every ad the tourism folks have ever run. There is a group of motorcyclist that drive down from Marion County regularly to eat and have a beer in Old Town which practice originated via word of mouth. The town markets itself in so many ways once word gets out and in the Pine Belt it is out.
As for the Bay’s proposed tax, my suggestion is that parks and recreation or anything that enhances the quality of life for the people would garner far more popular support than a tax and give-away scheme with a local not for profit.